Home-price gains in 20 U.S. cities accelerated in December, including Phoenix

Homes appreciate

Homes appreciateBy Bloomberg News

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities appreciated at a faster pace in the year ended in December, a sign that a limited supply is forcing up property values.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 4.5 percent from December 2013, after rising 4.3 percent in the year ended in November, a report from the group showed Tuesday in New York. The median projection of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 4.3 percent advance. Nationally, prices rose 4.6 percent year-over-year in December.

Moderate price gains bode well for home owners, improving their financial picture and boosting confidence. At the same time, a surge that outpaces wage growth and consumer price inflation could have undesired effects, like making homes unaffordable to young or first-time buyers and pushing them out of the market.

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