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The average national home price is now 0.1% above the June 2006 price, although the index does not account for inflation.

On a national basis, single-family home prices increased by 5.5%, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions. In September, Seattle led with an 11.0% year-over-year price gain, while Portland followed closely behind with 10.9%.

The 20-city annual increase was unchanged at 5.1% for September, while the 10-city index recorded an annual increase of 4.3% from 4.2% previously.

"The new peak set by the S&P Case-Shiller CoreLogic National Index will be seen as marking a shift from the housing recovery to the hoped-for start of a new advance" says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement.

The average home price in the Minneapolis area has jumped 5.3 percent in the past year, the index said.

"Buyers are still out there in droves despite the headwinds - especially younger buyers that will form the backbone of the housing market for years to come", she said.

Still another new read on home prices, looking at October values, also shows a hefty jump from a year ago. Supply appears to be continuing to constrain sales in the region.

"The housing market has been favoring sellers for the past few years", said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Local home prices stand at about 77 percent of their 2006 peak, according to Case-Shiller.

McLaughlin called the housing recovery "uneven", pointing out that markets that reached their pre-recession peaks are nearly all in the South or West.

The ongoing recovery in home prices shores up Americans' household wealth and should provide more homeowners the incentive to sell.

"And within those markets", he said, "it's mostly high-end homes that have surpassed the peak". (10.9 percent), Denver (8.7 percent), Dallas (8 percent) and Tampa (7.5 percent). On a sequential basis, it rose 0.4 percent, whereas on a year-on-year basis, the index was up 5.5 percent.

Compared to August, the 20-city index was up 0.4 per cent, seasonally adjusted, while the national index rose 0.8 per cent, with increases in all 20 cities.


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