Home prices in the U.S. recorded a 4.3% gain in the 12 months ending in October, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The 10- and 20-City Composites showed respective annual returns of +3.4% and +4.3% in October 2012 - larger than the +2.1% and +3.0% annual rates posted for September 2012.
Chicago and New York were the only two cities with negative annual returns in October. Phoenix posted the largest annual gain in home prices while San Diego posted nine consecutive monthly gains.
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"Looking over this report, and considering other data on housing starts and sales, it is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength," said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
ETFs tied to the housing market have been top 2012 performers.
The iShares DJ US Home Construction ETF (NYSEARCA:ITB) is ahead by +75.54% and the SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSEARCA:XHB) is up +53.96%, since the start of the year.
Other ETFs closely connected to housing are up too.
The iShares FTSE NAREIT Mort Plus Cp Idx (NYSEARCA:REM), which tracks apartment REITs, is ahead by 22.94% year-to-date (YTD).
Mortgage backed securities (NYSEARCA:MBB) have posted a modest +1.95% YTD gain.
According to Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.37% for the week ending December 20, 2012. Last year at this time, the 30-year rate averaged 3.91%. Follow us on Twitter @ ETFguide