Home-price appreciation across 20 major US metropolitan areas unexpectedly picked up steam in November, a highly-regarded survey released on Tuesday showed.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index climbed in November by 5.3 per cent from the same month in the previous year, up from 5.1 per cent in October. Wall Street economists expected the pace to tick lower to 5 per cent.

While the data are a lagging indicator, they represent the most recent sign of pricing pressures in the housing market, prompted by low mortgage rates, a strong labour market and tightening inventories.

Those dynamics have been shaken by the US election last year, which has lifted expectations for US economic growth, but also has sent mortgage rates rising.

“Mortgage rates have increased since the election and stronger economic growth could push them higher. Further gains in personal income and employment may increase the demand for housing and add to price pressures when home prices are already rising about twice as fast as inflation,” said David Blitzer, chair of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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