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Boston home prices up slightly

Home prices in Boston rose over the past year, but at a much slower pace than in other major housing markets, according to widely used index that tracks real estate markets across the country.

Boston housing prices were 1.6 percent higher in October from a year earlier, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, released Wednesday. The average increase in 20 metropolitan areas was 4.3 percent — the largest year-over-year increase in 2½ years — with home prices in 17 of the 20 cities included in the index rising faster than in Boston. Prices fell in Chicago and New York.

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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 Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Since prices in Boston area did not fall as steeply as in other parts of the country during the recent housing crisis, they have not had to rebound as dramatically as in harder hit areas. For example, Phoenix, which experienced some of sharpest declines in the nation after the housing bubble burst, saw the greatest year-over-year gains in October. Home prices there climbed by 21.7 percent.

Nationally, prices have posted year-over-year gains for five consecutive months after declining for almost two years. Case-Shiller reported that home prices have now returned to fall 2003 levels but remain 30 percent lower than their peak in the summer of 2006.

Callum Borchers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.
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