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Americans’ Investments Surging

(ABC) — Home prices rose 5.5 percent in November compared to a year ago, according to the Case Shiller index, one of the most widely watched home price gauges.

It was the biggest year-over-year increase since August 2006. Areas of the country seeing the biggest comeback in home prices were places that were hardest hit, including the Southwest – Las Vegas and Phoenix – and the Southeast – Miami and Tampa. California was also doing well. Homes are usually Americans’ biggest investment and price moves have an important impact on how Americans feel about their financial well-being.

The biggest yearly gain was in Phoenix, where prices jumped nearly 22.8 percent. Prices in San Francisco increased 12.7 percent. For the year, prices rose in 19 cities tracked by the index. New York was the only city with a decline. New York’s real estate market is, in many ways, very different from the rest of the country. As of November 2012, average home prices across the country were back to autumn 2003 levels. Compared to a month ago, prices were down slightly in cities tracked by the index.

Prices usually go down in winter months. Despite the season, prices in several cities still increased compared to a month earlier. The biggest monthly gains were in San Francisco, Phoenix and Minneapolis. While the housing market seemed to be recovering, it still had not returned to “normal” levels.

According to latest data, there were too few homes for sale, contributing to the higher home prices.