Home prices climb steadily in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices increased at a solid clip in April, led by double-digit jumps in Denver and San Francisco.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 4.9 percent in April from 12 months earlier, roughly the same annual pace as March, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Tuesday.

Strong job growth and low mortgage rates have prompted greater demand for housing, boosting home values. But the continued gains are at roughly double the pace of wage growth, potentially pricing out many would-be buyers.

Other measures are showing faster increase in prices, reflecting a shortage of homes available in the market.

May sales figures from the National Association of Realtors found that median home prices increased 7.9 percent over the past 12 months to $228,700, about $1,700 shy of the July 2006 peak.

The market has just 5.1 months’ supply of homes, versus an average of six months in a healthy market.

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