Nightly News   |  February 26, 2013

A seller’s market? Housing prices on the rise

National housing prices jumped higher in the last year than they have since 2006. Of the 20 cities examined: Detroit, San Francisco and Phoenix had the biggest price hikes. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> back to the national economy for a moment. the latest numbers on the another big jump in new home ow sales, welcome news for the home construction industry that's been struggling since the big meltdown in '08. the real estate market overall has been warming this winter, and nbc's stephanie gosk reports on what's driving it all.

>> welcome to century glen town home .

>> reporter: at a condominium plex in los angeles , the 2008 housing crash feels like a distant memory.

>> newer appliances.

>> reporter: real estate agent craig whitlock puts this two-bedroom on the market friday.

>> we're taking over 20 calls, everybody wanting to see it either that afternoon or the very next day.

>> reporter: national housing prices jumped higher in the last year than they have since 2006 . economists looked at 20 cities. 19 of them showed price hikes. the top three -- detroit up 13.6%, san francisco 14.4%, and phoenix's prices skyrocketed 23%.

>> phoenix and detroit saw home sales and housing starts positively plummet as well as prices. what happened after that is investors swarmed in.

>> reporter: in many cases, buying up cheap foreclosed homes that flooded the market after 2008 . those good deals are drying up, and overall supply is dwindling. right now if there were no new listings, all the homes on the market would sell in just over four months. that's the shortest time frame since 2005 . the other factor fueling the market is record-low interest rates. the average rate for a 30-year, fixed mortgage hovered around 5% in 2010 . today it is just 3.56%. the housing numbers are good news, but a word of caution. prices have not rebounded to where they were and these gains might not last.

>> a lot of media accounts suggest that we're off to the races again, but i think buyers are wary. they've just been burned. we still have an unemployment rate almost 8%.

>> reporter: but at least for now, the country can enjoy a flicker of light in a sector of the economy that had all but flat-lined. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york.