Home prices jump by most in seven years

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Prices were up in 15 cities in March from February, up from only 11 in the previous month.

Annual prices rose in Phoenix by 22.5 percent, the biggest gain among cities, followed by San Francisco (22.2 percent) and Las Vegas (20.6 percent).

Miami and Tampa had slightly softer annual gains of 10.7 percent and 11.8 percent.

Event the weakest annual price gains were strong — New York (2.6), Cleveland (4.8) and Boston (6.7).

On a monthly basis, the 10- and 20-city indexes each posted increases of 1.4 percent with Charlotte, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Tampa recording their largest month-over-month gains in more than seven years.

The housing market is showing sustained signs of improvement with housing starts and permits along with sales of new and existing homes continuing their gradual climb despite some hurdles.

The number of cities that showed monthly gains increased to 15 and Seattle and Charlotte were the most notable with returns of 3 and 2.4 percent.

San Francisco posted the highest month-over-month return of 3.9 percent.