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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Home prices rose for a tenth consecutive month on a year-over-year basis in December, posting their biggest gain in more than six years, data analysis firm CoreLogic said on Tuesday.
CoreLogic's home price index rose 0.4 percent from the previous month and added 8.3 percent compared to December a year ago. The year-on-year jump marked the biggest increase in the index since May 2006.
Excluding distressed sales, prices were up 7.5 percent on a yearly basis and 0.9 percent compared to the previous month. Homeowners in danger of foreclosure, or in "distress", often sell their homes at a significantly reduced price.
The near year-long run of improving home prices in most U.S. states has helped cement expectation that the housing market is finally on the mend - all be it at a slower pace during other recoveries - after the 2007-09 financial crisis and recession sent house prices crashing.
"We are heading into 2013 with home prices on the rebound," said Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive of CoreLogic. "The upward trend in home prices in 2012 was broad based with 46 of 50 states registering gains for the year. All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery."
There continued to be big differences between the pace of recovery in different parts of the nation, reflecting, in part, the widely varying impact of the recession on house prices in different localities.
The five states with the highest home price appreciation when distressed sales are counted were: Arizona, up 20.2 percent; Nevada, up 15.3 percent; Idaho, up 14.6 percent; California, up 12.6 percent; and Hawaii, up 12.5 percent.
Four states posted home price depreciation. They were: Delaware, down -3.4 percent; Illinois down -2.7 percent; New Jersey, down -0.9 percent; and Pennsylvania, down -0.5 percent. Those numbers also include distressed sales.
Of the top 100 statistical areas measured by population, 16 showed year-over-year declines, down from 18 last month.
Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Tim Dobbyn