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Boston is still hot as the rise in US home prices slows down

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. AP Photo/Bill Sikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — US home prices rose in July from a year earlier by the smallest amount in seven years, as modest sales are forcing sellers to keep costs in check.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index moved up 2 percent in July from a year ago, down from a 2.2 percent annual gain in June. Several formerly hot housing markets, such as Seattle and San Francisco, have noticeably cooled this year.

Boston remains hot: The region saw a 3.9 percent price gain over the past 12 months.

Home sales have picked up in recent months but remain modest. Low mortgage rates have recently encouraged more Americans to take the plunge and buy homes, but sales of existing homes have increased less than 3 percent in the past year.

Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Charlotte, N.C., reported the largest price gains over the past 12 months, increasing 5.8 percent, 4.7 percent, and 4.6 percent, respectively.

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