Across America, home values are rising at the fastest pace since the market slump began in 2006. The gain shows the housing recovery is strengthening ahead of the all-important spring buying season.

According to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders on real estate market trends, “The U.S. housing market held steady in April, despite scant inventory, tight credit and rising building costs.”

The number of housing markets showing at least six consecutive months of improvement in housing permits, employment and home prices is essentially unchanged in April, this is according to the Association’s Improving Markets Index. The Index includes 273 improving metropolitan areas in April, one market fewer than the previous month.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 8.1% within the last 12 months ending in January. This is an increase, as compared to the 6.8 annual gain in December. Prices rose in all 20 cities with 8 markets posting double-digit increases. These include a 23.2% gain in Phoenix, 17.5% increase in San Francisco and 15.3% in Las Vegas, which is one of the nation’s hardest hit markets during the crisis.

Steady price increases should help make the housing recovery sustainable and add to economic growth, while higher home prices encourage more people to buy before prices rise further.

More Americans are putting their houses on the market, in the belief that the housing market will continue to strengthen. The number of homes for sale increased by 10% in the last month, the first monthly gain since April.

Construction of single-family homes rose in February, a record high for the past 4 1/2 years, while sales of previously owned homes have risen last month to their fastest pace in more than 3 years.

Investment in housing, including home construction, contributed to the nation’s economic growth last year for the first time in 7 years.

Meanwhile, in other real estate market trends, the National Association of Realtors reported that Canadians are the biggest international buyers of homes in the U.S. The second largest share comes from Europe, next is Asia, then Central and South America, China and Mexico. International buyers account for roughly 3% of existing home sales in the US, according to NAR. International buyers mostly have their eyes on properties in Florida, California, Texas, New York, Arizona and Illinois.

Now is the best time to sell your home! For professional advice or consultation, call Margie McIntyre at 775-250-3181 or email her at