Housing prices continue to climb nationwide

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December marked the highest jump in prices since May 2006, 8.3% compared with December 2011. The jump can be attributed to a low inventory of homes and rising demand for housing nationwide.

The effects of steady increases in home prices are overwhelmingly positive for the US economy. Owners are enticed by higher prices and are more likely to sell, while buyers eagerly seek to close deals before prices rise. Furthermore, higher prices often times make homeowners feel wealthier which encourages consumer spending.

Real estate developers are responding to demand. Construction on new homes and apartments reached its highest level in four years.

Industry experts predict prices to continue increasing in 2013. Low interest and mortgage rates have contributed to the demand for new homes.

In addition, the supply of previously-occupied homes on the market is the lowest it has been in over a decade.