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Home prices in cities around the country surged 10 percent in the past year to highs last seen at the end of the housing bubble.

Prices around the country rose the most since April 2006, though in most places they are still well below their peak in 2006, according to the Case-Shiller house price index, which includes data through March 2013.

Phoenix, San Francisco and Las Vegas had the biggest jump in home prices, with increases of more than 20 percent compared with a year ago.

The housing market, while apparently on the road to recovery, is not yet fully healed.  A large number of homes are still in some stage of foreclosure and investors rather than first-time home buyers make up an outsized chunk of the housing market.

Many economists though are still confident that we are on the way to a healthy market.  “This is not a bubble,” says economist Diane Swonk.  ”We are regaining lost ground which is a game-changer for most households since their home is what they rely on for wealth.”

Stan Humphries at Zillow.com warns that homes will not seem as cheap once mortgages rates start moving up.

Still the rise in home prices could be among the factors contributing to resilience in consumer spending despite a tax hike at the beginning of the year.  As home prices rise consumers feel confident to spend on other items like a new car.

The housing market in cities including Seattle and Charlotte is pushing back into positive territory after a couple of months in decline.  Prices were up 3 percent in Seattle compared with a month ago, and 2.4 percent in Charlotte.

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The 2,200 passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas are expected to arrive in Baltimore today, after their planned seven-night cruise was cut short because of a ship fire. 

This young passenger says the entire experience was horrifying.

I thought, "We are gonna die." I thought we had to get on the lifeboats and go.

The fire began early Monday and was put out two hours later with no injuries reported. Royal Caribbean says the ship never lost power but photos show a substantial area of the stern burned on several decks of the ship the length of about three football fields.

 
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   KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — An overloaded ferry capsized after hitting rocks in a remote river in Malaysia's part of tropical Borneo island on Tuesday, leaving an unknown number of people missing, police said. Some survivors swam ashore, and a search was underway.

   The vessel was believed to be carrying much more than its recommended limit of 74 passengers, said Bakar Sibau, a district police chief in Malaysia's Sarawak state.

   Bakar said there appeared to be dozens of survivors, but he did not have exact numbers. Some people swam ashore, and police divers, fire department officers and villagers were searching for the missing passengers.

   "We hope they will be OK," Bakar said of the missing.

   The boat was packed because many people are heading to their home villages for a harvest festival holiday that Borneo's indigenous tribes will celebrate later this week, Bakar said.

   Rom Kulleh, a political aide who flew in a helicopter over the river shortly after the accident, said he and his state legislator boss saw the overturned boat.

   "We spotted some people being saved by villagers in smaller boats," Rom told the AP.

   The accident occurred midway through a 130-kilometer (80-mile) journey that usually takes about three hours.

   Rivers form the main transportation network for hundreds of thousands of people in sprawling Sarawak. Public concerns about safety, including the enforcement of rules for ferry capacity, have occasionally emerged, but major boat accidents in Sarawak are rare.

   Borneo island is divided among three countries: Indonesian territory in the south, two Malaysian states in the north and tiny Brunei on the north coast.

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