May 31, 2016 / 1:16 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. home prices rise more than expected in March

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Annualized U.S. single-family home prices rose more than expected in March, a survey showed on Tuesday.

A house under construction has a sold sign out front in the Candelas development in the northwest Denver suburb of Arvada, Colorado August 18, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 5.4 percent in March on a year-over-year basis, matching the increase the month before and beating the 5.2 percent estimate from a Reuters poll of economists.

“The economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“Another factor behind rising home prices is the limited supply of homes on the market.”

Prices rose 0.9 percent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the survey showed, topping expectations for a rise of 0.8 percent.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices increased 0.9 percent from February versus expectations of a 0.5 percent increase.

Home prices in three U.S. cities, Denver, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, showed the highest year-over-year gains, the survey showed.

Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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