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US home prices push higher in March
[NEW YORK] Steady buying and tight supplies pushed US home prices solidly higher in March, with the gains largest in the West, according to fresh data Tuesday.
The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index showed prices for the leading 20 cities up 0.9 per cent over February and up 5.4 per cent year-on-year.
The pace of gains appeared to be moderating from a pickup late last year, though not in markets like Seattle, Portland and Denver, where one-year rises advanced at least 10 per cent, and San Francisco and Dallas, where the one-year gain was 8.5 per cent.
Twelve-month gains were weakest in New York, Washington and Chicago.
"The economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates," said David Blitzer of S&P Dow Jones Indices.
He said another factor was the limited supply of homes on the market, even as new home construction picks up.
"The number of homes currently on the market is less than two percent of the number of households in the US, the lowest percentage seen since the mid-1980s," Mr Blitzer said in a statement.