NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. single-family home prices rose in February from a year earlier, led by strong increases in the western half of the United States, a closely watched survey said on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 5 percent in February on a year-over-year basis, besting January's downwardly revised gain of 4.5 percent. This was also above a Reuters poll of economists that forecast a rise of 4.7 percent.
Denver and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains, with prices increasing by 10 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, over the last 12 months.
"Home prices continue to rise and outpace both inflation and wage gains," said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices.
"While nationally, prices are recovering, new construction of single family homes remains very weak despite low vacancy rates among both renters and owner-occupied homes."
Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli