For the 44th consecutive month, the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index increased in December 2015, this time 5.4% year-over-year, reports Ralph McLaughlin of Trulia.

November 2015 marked the 10th consecutive month in which the year-over-year figure increased from the previous month. Low unemployment, strong job growth, low inventory, and generally positive consumer sentiment are responsible for the upward trend of the National Index.

Home prices in San Francisco, Denver, and Portland had the three largest increases in the nation. Portland topped the list with an 11.4% increase, while San Francisco and Denver grew by 10.3% and 10.2%, respectively. Higher prices in these markets should help increase inventory headed into 2016, but at the same time push some homes out of reach for buyers. -

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