House prices in the the Twin Cities metro were up 12.1 percent during January -- the sixth-highest year-over-year price gain among the 20 metro areas tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiler Home Price Index.

The metro area was tied with Los Angeles. Nationwide that 20-city composite index was up 8.1 percent, the biggest annual increase since mid 2006, accoridng to David Blitzer, chair of the index committee.

The report is the latest evidence that the housing market is showing strong signs of recovery even as mortgage delinequencies remain at elevated levels. Prices in the Twin Cities and beyond are being lifted by growing demand and shortages in listing inventory in some areas. Motivated by near-record low mortgage rates and growing confidence in the recovery, buyers in some areas are finding themselves competing with others and paying more than the list price, which is boosting prices.

At the current sales pace, the supply of listings in the Twin Cities would last about three months, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, compared with nearly five months last year.  

Here's a link to the full Case-Shiller report.

That news comes as the U.S. Commerce Department reported that new home sales across the country during February were more than 12 percent higher than last year at the same time, but almost five percent lower than January. That report, which does not include local data, shows that the inventory of new houses stood at 4.4 months. 



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