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Boston home values rise at fastest pace since 1987

Home values in Greater Boston rose 2.9 percent from March to April, the greatest monthly gain for the area since 1987, according to new S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices data issued Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices tracks repeat home sales. Other surveys, such as those issued by the Warren Group and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, look at much wider segments of the market, and they often report data on a year-to-year comparison basis.

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(The Warren Group and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors also issued monthly reports Tuesday that looked at local housing sales in May.)

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices looks at data for 20 metropolitan areas around the country, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

“Nineteen of the 20 cities saw lower annual gains in April than in March,” the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices said in its press release. “California (Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco) saw their returns worsen by approximately three percentage points. Boston was the only city to see its annual rate improve.”

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Boston’s annual rate went from 8.3 percent in March to 9 percent in April, the release said.

In a statement, David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said: “Near term economic factors favor further gains in housing: mortgage rates are lower than a year ago, the Fed is expected to keep interest rates steady until mid-2015, and the labor market is improving. However, housing is not back to normal: prices are being supported by cash sales, low inventories, and declining foreclosure and REO (real estate owned) sales. First time home buyers are not back in force, and qualifying for a mortgage remains challenging. The question is whether housing will bounce back before the Fed begins to tighten sometime next year.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at
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