Home sellers have more positive news to celebrate, as home prices are rising, and more people are buying existing homes.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan markets showed a 1.2 percent improvement in February over January and a 9.3 percent increase year-over-year.

In addition, the low inventory of for-sale homes has resulted in a rise in signed contracts to buy existing homes, the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index reports. Contracts in March rose 1.5 percent from a month earlier and 7 percent since last March.

Analysts are saying the two reports are further indication of a solid rebound in the housing sector that began in 2012. “Despite some recent mixed economic reports for March, housing continues to be one of the brighter spots in the economy,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted in a statement.

Home prices are expected to continue to rise modestly this year and next. That will help the millions of homeowners who still owe more on their mortgages than their home is worth and cannot afford to take the loss if they sell.

Keep up with your wealth and mortgages, and follow me on Twitter @JudyMartel.

More From Bankrate