U.S. home prices shot up 7.3 percent in 2012, according to figures released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller.

The gains mark the third quarterly rise in home prices across the 20 major housing markets on low mortgage rates, growth in the jobs market and enticing bargains. Foreclosures have been slowing down, too, lowering the supplies of homes on the market.

Prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent in December, the 11th consecutive monthly increase. In December alone prices rose 6.8 percent year-over-year.

“Home prices ended 2012 with solid gains,” says David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Housing and residential construction led the economy in the 2012 fourth quarter.”