DETROIT (CBS Detroit/AP) A time traveler popping in from 2009 would have to hear this twice, but Realtors say it’s true: There’s so much demand for houses in Detroit that many are snatched off the market quickly, and with multiple offers.

The region is following the trend because home prices were up in March across the United States from a year ago. The Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller 20 city home price index, the leading indicator of U.S. home prices, rose 12.4 percent in March compared to a year ago.

While healthy, that increase is down from February and January.

Home prices rose in 19 of the 20 cities in March compared with the previous month, with only New York registering a slight decline. Home prices rose 2.4 percent in San Francisco and 1.9 percent in Seattle.

The index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the gains can reflect the warmer weather after a harsh winter. Price gains last year and higher mortgage rates have reduced affordability, limiting the pool of would-be buyers. That has slowed this year’s price increases.

The CEO of Coldwell Banker, Weir-Manuel in Bingham Farms, Kelly Sweeney, says things are improving after a tough first quarter.

“So our prices are going up,” said Kelly Sweeney, CEO of Coldwell Banker, Weir-Manuel in Bingham Farms. “Honestly, we’re not forecasting them to go up as much this year as they did last year. Last year was kind of a banner year. Prices ranged between 12 and 16 percent increases depending on where you were located. This year, we’re thinking it’s gonna be more between 8 and 12.”

Compared to the banner numbers of last year, this year started slow, Sweeney said, but things are improving after a tough first quarter. Winter weather affected housing the same way it did retail and other sales, Sweeney said.

“The last 30, 45 days ,the market has picked up considerably,” she said. “Our closing count is up. Our activity count is up. Our written business is up and it seems like buyer confidence and consumer confidence have rebounded very, very nicely.”

See Detroit’s home price analysis on a graph HERE.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)




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