Real estate agents arrive at a brokers tour showing a house for sale in San Rafael, California.
Real estate agents arrive at a brokers tour showing a house for sale in San Rafael, California. - 
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Jeff Horwich: We've gotten some important economic data in the last hour or two. We'll start with the latest news on the housing market -- from the S&P/Case Shiller index.

U.S. home prices rose almost a percent in June -- about twice what economists had expected. It's the fifth month in a row home prices have increased. And forecasters expect them to keep rising.

Here's Marketplace's Mark Garrison on what this means for the big picture, including employment.

Mark Garrison: Home prices are up in all 20 cities the index tracks. But Columbia Business School real estate professor Chris Mayer warns against getting carried away.

Chris Mayer: I wouldn’t overread the positives like somehow we’re going on this big housing boom. But things have definitely turned nationally.

And cities that became known for waves of foreclosures and acres of empty neighborhoods are reviving.

Mayer: Some of the most distressed markets are actually seeing things firm up. Not only Phoenix, there’s some evidence in Las Vegas, parts of Florida.

There’s even hope that housing trends could move the needle on job creation. Sluggish home building in recent years means supply is very low. Moody's Analytics housing economist Celia Chen says contractors will need to hire more workers to satisfy demand.

Celia Chen: Construction activity will pick up this year into next. That will obviously help to generate jobs for the broader economy.

Housing watchers like the numbers. But don’t forget, they’re coming from a very low place. There’s still a long way to go.

Follow Mark Garrison at @GarrisonMark