US home prices climbed sharply in April from a year ago, picking up the pace in the fourth straight month of gains, according to the Standard and Poor/Case-Shiller report released on Tuesday. Home prices rose 12.1 percent in the 20-city composite index in the year to April, with all 20 major urban areas showing year-on-year gains for at least the fourth consecutive month. On a monthly basis, April sales rose 2.5 percent from March, the largest increase since the indexes began tracking the data seven years ago, Standard and Poor\'s said. \"The recovery is definitely broad-based,\" said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee. Blitzer said that 13 cities posted monthly increases of over two percentage points, with San Francisco leading with a hefty 4.9 percent rise. He downplayed the recent run-up in mortgage interest rates after the Federal Reserve last week raised expectations the Fed would begin to taper its massive bond-buying program in the coming months. \"Last week\'s comments from the Fed and the resulting sharp increase in Treasury yields sparked fears that rising mortgage rates will damage the housing rebound,\" he said. But Blitzer said there were signs that some banks were easing credit restrictions, which should compensate for the higher level of mortgage rates. \"Given this, the recovery should continue.\"