U.S. home prices saw the biggest increases in almost 6½ years in December; prices were up 8.3% year-over-year, the biggest annual gain since May 2006, according to data from CoreLogic. Home prices in 2012 were up in 46 of 50 states. The rise in prices in December is significant because sales have historically been slow over the winter months, so the increase of 0.4% can be considered a healthy sign. The price increases are spurring on a recovering housing market: people are more encourage to list their homes and buyers are motivated to purchase before prices rise further. Sales of previously-occupied homes have reached their highest levels in almost five years in 2012. Due to increased demand, home builders have seen the highest number of housing starts in four years. The growth in construction has lead to the creation of 98,000 jobs in the past four months, which is the strongest hiring increase since 2006. It appears now, six years after the bubble burst, that housing is beginning to lead a sustained economic recovery that is expected to continue into 2013. To read the full article visit USAToday.