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Case-Shiller index: House prices rise again in South Florida

An index measuring South Florida home prices rose 16.5 percent in January compared with a year ago.

It was the 24th consecutive month with a year-over-year increase for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties in the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index.

All 20 cities tracked by the index saw annual price gains. Las Vegas had the biggest increase at 24.9 percent.

Still, industry analysts expect home prices to soften in the months ahead. On a monthly basis, the South Florida index rose 0.7 percent. It was one of only seven metro areas nationwide to see the index rise compared with December.

“Expectations and recent data point to continued home price gains for 2014," David M. Blitzer, chiarman of the index committee for Standard & Poor's, said in a statement. "Although most analysts do not expect the same rapid increases we saw last year, the consensus is for moderating gains."

Despite the recent increase, prices in South Florida are still off 36 percent from their peak in 2006, according to the index.

The index, released on the last Tuesday of each month, follows the values of the same house over time. Some analysts say that's a better measure than releasing a median price for homes sold in a month, as local Realtor boards do.

Case-Shiller does not include prices for condominiums and lags local Realtor board data by a month.

Last week, the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches said Palm Beach County's median price for December was $272,000, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Broward's median price was $255,000, 12 percent higher than a year ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said.

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