WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — U.S. home prices jumped by the most in 6 1/2 years in December, according to a report Tuesday from CoreLogic, a real estate data provider.

Home prices rose 8.3 percent in December compared with a year earlier, according to the report. That is the biggest annual gain since May 2006. Prices rose last year in 46 of 50 states.

Home prices also increased 0.4 percent in December from the previous month.

An increase in home prices is encouraging some people to sell and enticing would-be buyers to purchase so as to beat an increase in price.

Some Analysts expect prices to keep rising this year. Sales of previously occupied homes reached their highest level in five years in 2012 and will likely keep growing. Homebuilders, encouraged by improving sales, broke ground on the most new homes and apartments in four years last year.

At the same time, the number of previously occupied homes for sale has fallen to the lowest level in 11 years.

“All signals point to a continued improvement in the fundamentals underpinning the U.S. housing market recovery,” said Anand Nallathambi, CEO of CoreLogic.

The states with the biggest price gains were Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, California and Hawaii. The four states where prices fell were Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The housing recovery is also boosting job creation. Construction companies have added 98,000 jobs in the past four months, the best hiring spree since the bubble burst in 2006.

Housing has been a leading driver of past recoveries. But the bursting of the housing bubble pushed a flood of foreclosed homes on the market at low prices. That made it hard for builders to compete.

And a collapse in home prices left millions of homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their houses were worth. That made it difficult to sell.

Now, six years after the bubble burst, some claim those barriers are fading.

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