Good News in Housing Bodes Well for Obama Campaign

The housing market is on track to post its first year of rising prices since 2006.

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The housing market is getting better, and it couldn't come at a better time for President Barack Obama who, according to some, took a serious beating from challenger Mitt Romney at the first presidential debate Wednesday night.

Although the president has taken some heat in recent days for what some critics have called "stupid" housing policies, others say fundamental improvements in markets across the country bode well for his re-election bid.

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According to the latest data from real estate website Trulia, asking prices in six out of seven swing states increased year over year in September, including Nevada and Florida, two of the states hit hardest by the housing bust.

Swing State*
Y-o-Y % change in asking prices, Sept. 2012
Nevada
7%
Florida
6.9%
Colorado
5.5%
Iowa
3.2%
Missouri
2.4%
Virginia
0.4%
North Carolina
-0.8%

*As categorized by Real Clear Politics, as of Oct. 2.

Source: Trulia

Asking prices, a leading indicator of sales prices, rose as much as 7 percent in Nevada and Florida. Of the swing states, only North Carolina reported a year-over-year decline with prices falling 0.8 percent.

"That's a big deal," says Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. "The two states with the biggest asking price increases are the two states at the center of the housing crisis."

Better news from the epicenter of the housing bust could mean brighter days are ahead for other corners of the nation's battered housing market, and could also buoy the spirits of voters, many of whom are struggling with underwater mortgages.

[RELATED: Will Obama and Romney Debate Housing?]

"Obama's getting news from the housing market that's better than he could've hoped for," Kolko adds.

What's more, if the prices increases we've seen in the first nine months of the year continue through the remainder of the year, 2012 will be the first year of rising home prices since 2006. On the current pace, prices will rise almost 4 percent by the end of the year, according to Trulia's projections, ending several consecutive years of painful declines.

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Meg Handley is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at mhandley@usnews.com.