Home sales up heading into slow, winter season

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Home sales up heading into slow, winter season

Rising sales and an available-home-supply decline caused U.S. home prices to rise in most major cities during October compared to a year ago

Higher prices show the housing market is improving even as it moves into the slow winter-sales period.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller national home price index released Wednesday increased 4.3 percent in October compared with a year ago.

That’s the largest year-over-year increase in two and a half years, when a homebuyer tax credit temporarily boosted sales.

Prices rose in October from a year ago in 18 of 20 cities. Phoenix led all cities with a 21.7 percent gain, followed Detroit, where prices increased 10 percent. Prices declined in Chicago and New York.

Home prices fell in 12 of 20 cities in October compared with September. Monthly prices are not seasonally adjusted, so the decreases reflect the end of the peak buying season.