Home prices in the U.S. recorded a 4.3% gain in the 12 months ending in October, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The 10- and 20-City Composites showed respective annual returns of 3.4% and 4.3% in October 2012—larger than the 2.1% and 3.0% annual rates posted for September 2012.

Chicago and New York were the only two cities with negative annual returns in October. Phoenix home prices rose for the 13th month in a row. San Diego was second best with nine consecutive monthly gains. 

ETFs tied to the housing market were strong 2012 performers. The iShares DJ US Home Construction ETF (ITB) gained 75.54% and the SPDR S&P Homebuilders (XHB) jumped 53.96%. The iShares FTSE NAREIT Mort Plus Cp Idx (REM), which tracks apartment REITs, vaulted ahead by 22.94%. Mortgage-backed securities (MBB) posted a modest 1.95% gain.