Reuters

(Reuters)

Home Prices Rise for Third-Straight Month

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Single-family home prices picked up for a third month in a row in April, suggesting the recovery in the housing market is gaining traction, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

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The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping economists' expectations of 0.4 percent.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices fared even better, rising 1.3 percent.

Just three out of the 20 cities in the index saw declines in April on a seasonally adjusted basis.

"It has been a long time since we enjoyed such broadbased gains," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's, said in a statement.

"While one month does not make a trend, particularly during seasonally strong buying months, the combination of rising positive monthly index levels and improving annual returns is a good sign."

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Compared to a year ago, prices were down 1.9 percent, beating expectations for a decline of 2.5 percent, and an improvement from the 2.6 percent annual decline seen in March.