WASHINGTON -- U.S. home prices jumped 3.8 percent in the 12 months ending in July, according to a private real estate data provider. The year-over-year increase was the biggest in six years, further evidence that the housing market is steadily recovering.

CoreLogic said Tuesday that home prices also rose 1.3 percent in July from June. That's the fifth straight increase in both the monthly and year-over-year price indexes.

The index is the third national measure to show steady increases. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index posted its first annual increase in nearly two years last week. And a federal government housing agency has also reported annual increases.

The states with the biggest gains according to CoreLogic over the past 12 months were Arizona, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota and Colorado. In Arizona, prices have risen 16.6 percent since July 2011. Idaho has posted a 10-percent gain in that time.

But not all states are seeing increases. In Delaware, prices dropped 4.8 percent in the 12-month period. Prices fell 4.6 percent in Alabama in that stretch.

The housing market has been slowly recovering this year. Sales of new and previously occupied homes are up. Builders are more confident and starting work on more homes. And mortgage rates are near their lowest levels of the past six decades.

Prices are also rising because the supply of available homes remains tight.

Still, the housing market's recovery is just beginning. Prices remain 27 percent below their peak in April 2006, CoreLogic said.

The recent improvements have been widespread. Out of 100 large cities tracked by CoreLogic, only 23 posted year-over-year declines in July. That's four fewer than in June.

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  • Five Worst Housing Markets

  • 5. Los Angeles, CA

    <strong>Down 0.6 percent</strong> The housing market in Los Angeles has stabilized during the past year. More homes that are not in some stage of foreclosure have been selling. But the job market has been improving only slowly. So it's not creating enough demand to move prices higher.

  • 4. Chicago, IL

    <strong>Down 1.7 percent</strong> The Chicago area's unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in June from 10.9 percent a year earlier. Sales of foreclosed homes have been climbing. The region's supply of bank-owned homes is now nearly 19 months.

  • 3. Las Vegas, NV

    <strong>Down 1.8 percent</strong> Sales have slowed as the inventory of bank-owned homes on the market has declined. High unemployment and a tourism-dependent economy have put off some buyers.

  • 2. New York, NY

    <strong>Down 2.1 percent</strong> Prices in New York remain beyond the reach of most buyers. Even homes in foreclosure that are being sold at deep discounts remain high. It takes, on average, nearly three years for a home in the New York area to complete the foreclosure process, which means many potential sales are delayed for years.

  • 1. Atlanta, GA

    <strong>Down 12.1 percent</strong> The housing market is weighed down by 11 percent unemployment, partly due to heavy reliance on the construction and real estate markets. The market also has about a 12-month supply of unsold homes, which is about twice that of a healthy market.

  • Five Hottest Housing Markets

  • 5. Washington, DC

    <strong>Up 3.9 percent</strong> The Washington metropolitan area, including suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, benefits from a healthy job market, much of it linked to the federal government. Demand for homes is consistently strong, and foreclosure activity in the area slowed in the first half of the year.

  • 4. Denver, CO

    <strong>Up 4 percent</strong> Sales in Denver have posted monthly annual increases going back to February. Nearly 21 percent of sales in June were made by buyers that didn't list the home as their primary residence. That suggests they were investors or people buying second homes.

  • 3. Miami, FL

    <strong>Up 4.4 percent</strong> Investors and overseas buyers have been scooping up homes. Sales in June hit the highest level for that month in five years. But the market still has a 20.3-month supply of foreclosures.

  • 2. Minneapolis, MN

    <strong>Up 5.7 percent</strong> Sales of foreclosed homes have been rising, growing 33 percent in the first three months of the year. Even so, Minneapolis still has a nearly 20-month supply of foreclosures.

  • 1. Phoenix, AZ

    <strong>Up 13.9 percent</strong> The combination of fewer foreclosures coming onto the market and investor demand for bank-owned homes has created bidding wars, driving prices higher. But sales of bank-owned homes sank to the lowest level in nearly 4½ years last month.