Some regions, including California and Michigan, saw monthly house payments rise by 50 percent from a year ago.
Warmer weather could get more people out looking, but potentially higher monthly payments create a major hurdle to purchasing.
The National Association of Home Builders' monthly sentiment index had its sharpest drop in history in February.
The rate increases will soon affect thousands of people who participated in the federal Home Affordable Modification Program.
While weather makes for a fair argument, it is not the full picture of this winter's housing slowdown.
Fewer U.S. homes were repossessed in January, bringing foreclosures down to the lowest level in more than six years.
Institutional investors have bought more than 100,000 houses since the crash, and economists are concerned about what happens if they sell.
Applications for U.S. home mortgages fell as both purchase and refinancing applications slipped, an industry group said on Wednesday.
U.S. homeowners are doing a better job of keeping up with mortgage payments, with late payment on home loans at the lowest level in over five years.
Higher interest rates, flat household income and all-cash investors are making it harder to find a house at the right price.
Borrowers who had debt forgiven on home short sales will now have to pay taxes on those sales, reports CNBC's Diana Olick.
A tax exemption for mortgage debt forgiveness was not renewed late last year. That could spell trouble for struggling homeowners.
Tech companies didn't push real estate prices higher: Tech companies were drawn to places that were already expensive, according to a new report.
Mortgage applications barely moved last week, even as a run on the bond market pushed interest rates down. Total applications rose only 0.4 percent.
Applications for U.S. home mortgages edged slightly lower in the latest week, an industry group said on Wednesday.
U.S. home prices fell slightly in November as colder weather slowed buying, but prices surged for much of 2013.
China's home prices continued to surge in December, though the pace of gains overall did not exceed the previous month's and rises eased in some major cities, suggesting that government tightening measures may be starting to bite.
The number of U.S. homes on the path to foreclosure fell last year to a low not seen since before the high-flying days of the housing boom.
CNBC's Diana Olick reports from Atlanta, Georgia, just after the first major foreclosure auction of 2014. What did institutional investors buy?
The year's first foreclosure auction took place yesterday in Atlanta. CNBC's Diana Olick looks at the properties that sold and how easy it is to break into foreclosed homes bought sight unseen.