WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices jumped in February by the largest amount in seven years, evidence that the housing recovery strengthened ahead of the all-important spring-buying season.
Home prices rose 10.2 percent in February compared with a year earlier, CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, said Wednesday. The annual gain was the biggest since March 2006. Prices have now increased on an annual basis for 12 straight months, underscoring the recovery's steady momentum.
The gains were broad-based. Prices rose in 47 of 50 states and in all but four of the nation's 100 largest metro areas. Delaware, Alabama and Illinois were the only states to report price declines.
CoreLogic's measure of national prices also rose 0.5 percent in February from January. That's a solid increase during the winter months, when sales typically slow.
An increase in home sales has helped lift prices. In February, sales of previously owned homes reached the highest level in more than three years. Still, much of the demand has come from investors. Sales to first-time buyers remain below healthy levels. Another reason prices are rising is the supply of available homes for sale remains extremely low. In January, it reached a 13-year low.