Home prices have risen 4.3% in the past year, ending in October, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index. Home prices are being driven higher by rising demand, strong investor interest, a shrinking inventory of homes, and fewer foreclosed properties. The existing home inventory fell again in November to a 4.8 month supply according to the National Association of Realtors; this represents the lowest level in more than 7 years. A six-month supply is typically considered to be a balanced market for both buyers and sellers. The shortage of supply has prompted a boost in the new homes market; builders are expecting housing starts to be up 25% this year from 2011 according to the National Association of Home Builders. Visit USAToday for the full report.