Home prices rose in March

U.S. home prices continued to rise in the first quarter of 2014, according to a housing report issued Tuesday.

For the quarter, home prices across the country rose 10.3% on an annual basis, the S&P/Case-Shiller report said. That was, however, a slower gain than the previous two quarters, when prices rose more than 11% each. Prices rose just 0.2% from the final three months of 2013.

In March, an index of 20 large housing markets gained 12.4% year-over-year. The monthly rise of 0.9% was relatively robust. In February, prices were flat.

"The year-over-year changes suggest that prices are rising more slowly," according to David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P.

Trends in the housing market have been mixed, with a bounce back for housing starts in April and better new home sales. Buyers have been able to take advantage of very low mortgage interest rates, but tight loan underwriting still keeps many potential homebuyers out of the market.

Even though price gains have moderated, all the cities in the 20-city index recorded gains year-over-year led by Las Vegas at 21.2%. Prices in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles also rose faster than average.

On a monthly basis, New York was the only city with a decline in March.

Prices remain about 18% below their peak, which was reached in the summer of 2006.

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