Seattle leads the way as U.S. home prices rise at fastest pace in years

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WASHINGTON - The Seattle housing market led the way - again - as U.S. homes prices shot up at their fastest pace in nearly three years.

The Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index increased 5.8 percent in February, the most in 32 months, as more homebuyers chased fewer available properties.

Seattle, Portland, and Dallas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in the index. Seattle led the way with a 12.2 percent year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland, Ore., with 9.7 percent. Dallas replaced Denver in the top three with an 8.8 percent increase.

Fifteen cities reported greater price increases in the year ending February 2017 versus the year ending January 2017. New York City, at 3.2 percent, posted the lowest year-over-year price increase.

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 to take on higher borrowing costs.

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