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US home price gains accelerate as pandemic shakes up housing

Last Updated Nov 24, 2020 at 9:12 am EST

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2019 file photo a sign rests in front of a newly constructed home, in Westwood, Mass. U.S. home prices rose in April for the eighth straight month, even as sales have stumbled, a sign the coronavirus outbreak has had little impact on real estate values. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 4% in April, the largest gain since December 2018, up from 3.9% in March. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices jumped in September as strong demand, low interest rates and the smallest number of available homes on record combined to push up housing costs.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, showed that home prices rose 6.6% in September from a year earlier, much higher than its 5.3% increase in August. That is the biggest increase since April 2018.

The viral pandemic disrupted the spring home buying season, pushing many sales into the late summer and fall. Home sales jumped to the highest level in 14 years in September, a sign that the increased ability of some Americans to work from home and the desire for more space is spurring greater demand.

Prices skyrocketed 11.4% in Phoenix compared with a year earlier, the biggest gain nationwide. Seattle reported the second highest increase, with 10.1%, followed by San Diego at 9.5%.

Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press