U.S. home prices make biggest jump in 6 years

Nationwide home prices shot up 3.8% in July, making their largest year-over-year leap since 2006, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic.

The gain marks the fifth straight rise in the gauge, part of a positive swing following a year and a half of slumps. The last time prices rose so much was in August 2006, when they jumped 4.1%.

Prices in California bounded up 4.4%. Without distressed sales – including foreclosures and short sales – national prices were up 4.3% compared with last July.

The report, coming as a glut of house-hunters clamor after a shrinking inventory, suggests that the real estate market is “clearly seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel,” said CoreLogic Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi in a statement.

Compared with June, prices got a 1.3% boost in July, according to Santa Ana-based CoreLogic. The company forecasts at least an additional 0.6% monthly improvement in August, or what would be a 4.6% increase compared with 2011.

Arizona led the country in price appreciation with a 16.6% surge, followed by Idaho, Utah, South Dakota and Colorado. Delaware’s 4.8% plunge was the deepest drop-off in prices, with Alabama, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Illinois also suffering major slips.

Housing, though seemingly in a recovery, is still shaky, according to other data. Consumer confidence is up, helping to push pending home sales to a two-year high, but the job market and the overall economy continue to lag.

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