Single-family home prices rose in March, racking up their best annual gain in nearly seven years as the housing recovery continues to provide a source of strength for the economy, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 1.1 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping economists' forecasts for 1 percent.
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Prices in the 20 cities jumped 10.9 percent year over year, beating expectations for 10.2 percent and the biggest increase since April 2006.
All 20 cities covered by the index saw yearly gains for the third month in a row. Average prices in March were back at their late-2003 levels.
For the first quarter of this year, the seasonally adjusted national index rose 3.9 percent, stronger than the 2.4 percent gain that was seen in the final quarter of last year.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)