U.S. single-family home prices rose in March, a closely watched survey said Tuesday, as the housing market extended its fragile recovery.
The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.9 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from the prior month's gain of 0.8 percent. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a 0.7 percent rise.
Year over year, the index jumped 12.4 percent, S&P/Case-Shiller said, a slightly slower rate than February's 12.9 percent surge but well above Wall Street's estimates. Still, economist Robert Shiller told CNBC, "it's not a big slowdown" even if the reasons behind it are tough to pinpoint.
"I'm a little puzzled by it, but it isn't a big change. Mortgage rates are down, and that ought to be spurring the market a little bit, but it's not a big change this month," said the Nobel Prize-winning economist who is co-creator of the index.
"The market is still on the up, at least looking at price data," he said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "You know, there's always been a lot of momentum in the housing market, and it still looks up and it still looks optimistic."