(NEW YORK) — The trend is now clear: The worst of the housing slump is over in many parts of the country.
Home prices rose in nearly all major U.S. cities in April, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index. The average increase in the 20 cities tracked was 1.3 percent from March — the first rise in seven months.
The biggest increases were reported in Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington. Detroit was the only city where prices fell, 3.6 percent.
The increases partly reflect the impact of the spring buying season. The month-to-month prices aren’t adjusted for seasonal factors. Still, prices in half of the cities are up over the past 12 months. The largest gain was in Phoenix, where prices rose 8.6 percent compared to last year.
Monday’s Commerce Department report on new home sales also brought good news. It found that Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years — up 7.6 percent compared with the month before.
For five years, the housing slump and mortgage mess have been a drag on jobs and the economy. Now, that trend appears to be coming to a close.
But the housing recovery still has a long way to go. Sales are still way below where they were during the boom years.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Julia Horowitz, CNN