US home prices climb 4.6 percent; sales held back by few listings and affordability crunch

Economic Indicators Associated Press

U.S. home price increases continued to rise at a steady pace in January, as the housing market deals with affordability problems and few properties listed for sale.

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The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 4.6 percent in January compared with 12 months earlier. That is up from growth of 4.4 percent in December.

Few Americans have listed their homes for sale, with the tight inventory keeping prices higher. Robust hiring and low mortgage rates have raised the possibility of stronger sales, yet home prices have appreciated at a significantly faster pace than wages.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The January figures are the latest available.