Real Estate

Moving on up! US home prices climb at fastest pace in nearly 3 years

A real estate agent readies a house for viewing in Venice, Calif.
Anne Cusack | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

U.S. home prices rose more than was anticipated for the month of February, according to new data from the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. This happened as homebuyer demand continues to outweigh supply in the housing market.

The national home price index jumped 5.8 percent in February, while analysts were expecting home prices to climb by 5.7 percent for the month, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates. This represents the most gains in 32 months.

David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said the low stock of existing homes for sale — currently about 3.8 months worth of supply at current sales rates — is bolstering the price increases across the board.

"Housing affordability has declined since 2012 as the pressure of higher prices has been a larger factor than stable to lower mortgage rates," Blitzer added.

The cities with the biggest annual price gains in February were Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Dallas, according to the groups' index.

U.S. home price gains last reached a 31-month high in January. Of the nation's 20 largest cities reporting that month, three reached their all-time highs in January: Seattle, Portland and Denver, the industry survey found.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices is a monthly report published on the last Tuesday of each month and tracks the price path of typical single-family homes located in each metropolitan area provided.

— Reuters contributed to this report.