Housing prices rise

There is encouraging news in the housing market. Home prices in 20 major markets posted a 9.3 percent rise over the last 12 months.{} That is according to the S&P Case-Shiller Index.{} This rate is up from the 8.1 percent rise in January.{} It is also the biggest 12-month gain in the index since May 2006.The housing recovery has been driven by a near record-low mortgage rates, a drop in foreclosures and reduced unemployment.{} Despite the improvement, the index is still down 28 percent from the peak in 2006.