SHARECOMMENTMORE

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home prices jumped by the most in 6 ½ years in December, spurred by a low supply of available homes and rising demand.

CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, says home prices rose 8.3 percent in December compared with a year earlier. That is the biggest annual gain since May 2006. Prices rose last year in 46 of 50 states.

Home prices also rose 0.4 percent in December from the previous month. That's a healthy increase given that sales usually slow over the winter months.

Steady increases in prices are helping fuel the housing recovery. They're encouraging some people to sell homes and enticing some would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Higher prices can also make homeowners feel wealthier. That can encourage more consumer spending.