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US home prices rise faster than expected in January

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US single-family home prices accelerated at a faster pace than expected in January supported by a low inventory of housing stock, a survey showed on Tuesday.

[NEW YORK] US single-family home prices accelerated at a faster pace than expected in January supported by a low inventory of housing stock, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 5.7 per cent in January on a year-over-year basis, from a downwardly revised 5.5 per cent increase in December. January's result topped the estimate of a 5.6 per cent increase from a Reuters poll of economists and was the biggest year-on-year increase since July 2014.

David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said recent rate increases by the US Federal Reserve are not lifting mortgage rates dramatically and so should not present a significant headwind to further price gains. The Fed raised rates a quarter percentage point at two of its last three meetings, most recently earlier in March.

If the pace of Fed increases accelerates, however, "rising mortgage rates could become a concern," he said.

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On a monthly basis, prices in the 20 cities rose 0.9 per cent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the survey showed, outpacing expectations for a 0.7 per cent increase.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices increased 0.2 per cent from December.

REUTERS

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