U.S. single-family home prices picked up in December, closing out 2012 with the biggest yearly gain in more than six years as the housing market got back on its feet, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.9 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping expectations for a gain of 0.5 percent.
On a non-adjusted basis, prices were up 0.2 percent.
"The overall picture is very, very strong. All across the country things look good and only one city out of 20 was down on a year-to-year basis," said David Blitzer, Chairman of the S&P 500 Index Committee on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "If you look at a year-over-year basis, we are continuing to see gains and build momemtum. The rest of the housing numbers all reflect the fact that the entire housing spectrum has turned around."
He also noted that housing and residential construction (led) the economy in the 2012 fourth quarter.
"We need to build more homes," Blitzer said, "We hear stories about shortage of supplies. The medium-term outlook over the next two to four years for home construction — especially single family homes — either looks very good or everyone will be living in apartments, and I don't think the later is what will happen."
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Prices in the 20 cities jumped 6.8 percent year-over-year, ahead of expectations for 6.6 percent and the best yearly gain since July 2006.
For the final quarter of the year, prices gained 2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis.