PITTSBURGH -- Home prices are showing signs of improvement, according to a survey of residential appraisers.

The appraisers reported rising prices in 15 of 98 cities, up from 10 last fall.

"A combination of low mortgage rates and definite signs of an economic upturn is giving a lift to the nation's housing market," said Robert W. Murphy Jr., president of Pittsburg-based Lender's Services Inc.

The company, which conducted its survey at the end of February, manages a nationwide network of 10,000 independent appraisers.

The survey found that prices were declining in 11 cities and stable in the remaining 72. Mr. Murphy said the declines were usually tied to specific local events like cutbacks by a major employer.

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