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U.S. single-family home prices rose in January and slightly beat expectations, a closely watched survey said on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.8 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a 0.7 percent rise.
"The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather,'' said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, speaking to the 0.1 percent price drop on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
"From the bottom in 2012, prices are up 23 percent and the housing market is showing signs of moving forward with more normal price increases.''
Prices in the 20 cities rose 13.2 percent year over year, just shy of expectations for 13.3 percent.
During an interview with CNBC, Robert Shiller, the index's co-founder and an economics professor at Yale University, characterized January's growth as "good," but cautioned that home price gains were slowing gradually. The overall market appears to be weakening, Shiller said, suggesting that the recent surge could due to speculative activity.
"I worry that [the housing market] is going to weaken more because I think investors are in the market," Shiller said on "Squawk on the Street, " adding that "they know there is momentum in house prices," calling the recent price gains "enticing."
Shiller added: "Now, you know, it may not last and these investors may be gone."
—By Reuters. CNBC's Drew Sandholm contributed to this article.