US home prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly 3 years

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2015, file photo, a sign with a sold sticker is posted in front of a row of new town homes in Richmond, Va. The Commerce Department reports on sales of new homes in October, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. homes prices rose steadily upward in February as more homebuyers chased fewer available properties.

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index increased 5.8 percent in February, the most in 32 months.

Home sales got off to a strong start this year, and in March reached their highest level in a decade. At the same time, the number of houses for sale has dropped steadily, forcing many would-be buyers into bidding wars. Many homeowners have very low mortgage rates and may be reluctant to sell if doing so would force them t take on higher borrowing costs.

The cities with the biggest annual price gains were Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Dallas.

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