(Adds comment, details)
NEW YORK, March 25 U.S. single-family home
prices rose in January and slightly beat expectations, a closely
watched survey said on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas
rose 0.8 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. A
Reuters poll of economists had forecast a 0.7 percent rise.
"The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the
cold weather," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index
committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, speaking to the 0.1 percent
price drop on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
"From the bottom in 2012, prices are up 23 percent and the
housing market is showing signs of moving forward with more
normal price increases."
An extremely cold winter has been blamed for a spate of soft
data in the past few months, though the weather's effects on
economic numbers are starting to abate.
"While recent results have been considerably better than
those seen earlier in the cycle, and also better than we had
anticipated, we have not given up on the argument that a large
supply overhang of existing homes promises to keep pressure on
prices for some time," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist
at MFR Inc in New York in a note.
S&P/Case-Shiller said prices in the 20 cities rose 13.2
percent year over year, just shy of expectations for a 13.3
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and