Home prices jump in big U.S. cities

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Home prices rose again in September in the Portland-Vancouver area, with a 1 percent growth rate that exceeded the 0.7 percent average increase in the 20 cities included in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index.

Prices were up by 13.5 percent from a year earlier for the Portland-Vancouver area, slightly beating the 20-city average of 13.3 percent, according to the Case-Shiller report released Tuesday. That growth rate is the highest year-over-year increase since 2006, the report said.

Home prices in the nation's largest metro regions posted strong gains in September, although the pace of those increases slowed in most cities, according to a leading gauge.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 U.S. cities, released Tuesday, rose 0.7 percent from a month earlier and 13.3 percent from September of last year.

Western cities saw the largest annual price gains. Prices in Las Vegas rose 29.1 percent; San Francisco, 25.7 percent; Los Angeles, 21.8 percent; and San Diego, 20.9 percent.

"The strong price gains in the West are sparking questions and concerns about the possibility of another bubble," David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. "However, the talk is focused on fear of a bubble, not a rush to join the party and buy. Moreover, other data suggest a market beginning to shift to slower growth rather than one about to accelerate."

On Monday, the National Association of Realtors said signed contracts for previously owned homes fell to a 10-month low in October.

And the Case-Shiller index showed that 19 cities saw month-over-month home price increases decelerate compared to August.

The index, created by economists Karl E. Case and Robert J. Shiller, is one of the most widely followed gauges of home values. The housing index compares the latest sales of detached houses with previous sales and accounts for factors such as remodeling that might affect a house's price over time.