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News Summary: US home prices rise in December

The Associated Press

HOME SWEETER HOME: U.S. home prices rose at a 6.8 percent pace in December compared with a year ago, driven higher by stronger demand and a smaller supply of available homes. That's up from a 5.5 percent annual gain in November.

BROAD GAINS: The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index showed prices rose in December compared with a year ago in 19 of the 20 cities tracked by the index. New York was the only metro area to show a decrease.

LONG WAY TO GO: Despite the increases, prices nationwide are still about 30 percent below the peak they reached at the height of the housing bubble in the summer of 2006. They are now at the same level as in the fall of 2003.