Rise in local home prices mirrors national trend

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Home prices in the Portland-Vancouver area and in most major U.S. cities rose in October compared with a year ago, fueled by rising sales and a decline in the supply of available homes.

According to a report issued Wednesday, higher prices show the housing market was improving, even as it moved into the more dormant fall and winter sales period. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller national home price index increased 4.3 percent in October compared with a year ago. It was the largest year-over-year increase in 21/2 years, when a homebuyer tax credit temporarily boosted sales.

In the Portland area, prices rose 5.2 percent over a year ago. The index jumped nearly 1 percent from September to October. It was one of only seven cities that posted positive month-over-month returns. Overall, prices rose from a year ago in 18 of 20 cities. Phoenix led all cities with a 21.7 percent gain, followed by Detroit, where prices increased 10 percent. Prices declined in Chicago and New York.