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Slow-But-Steady Rise for Home Prices

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WASHINGTON – A measure of U.S. home prices rose 6.3 percent in October compared with a year ago, the largest yearly gain since July 2006.

Core Logic also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.2 percent in October from September, the second drop after six straight monthly increases. The monthly figures are not seasonally adjusted. The real-estate data provider says the decline reflects the end of the summer homebuying season.

In New Mexico, the month-over-month decline was 0.1 percent, from a home price gain of 3.2 percent in September to 3.1 percent in October. New Mexico had the 31st highest home-price increase among the 50 states in October, according to Core Logic.

Separate, local measures of median home prices from the Relators Association of New Mexico and the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors have shown the state and metro area stabilizing but not seeing strong gains.

The statewide January-through-October 2012 median price was $167,000 compared to the January-through-October 2011 price of $168,000 and the January-through-October 2010 median of $174,000, according to RANM.

GAAR reported that the median price in October was $166,300 compared to $172,000 the month before and $180,000 in October of last year.

Still, steady price increases in much of the nation are helping fuel a housing recovery. Home values are rising in more states and cities, according to the Core Logic report. Prices increased in 45 states in October, up from 43 the previous month. The biggest increases were in Arizona, where prices rose 21.3 percent, and in Hawaii, where they were up 13.2 percent.

The five states where prices declined were: Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Alabama. In 100 large metro areas, only 17 reported price declines. That’s an improvement over September, when 21 reported declines.

Mortgage rates are near record lows, while rents in many cities are rising. That makes homebuying more affordable, pushing up demand.

Journal staff contributed to this report.

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