04/26/2016 09:05 EDT | Updated 04/27/2017 01:12 EDT

US home prices rise at solid pace, even with flat sales

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices continued their steady upward march in February as buyers competed for a limited number of available properties.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.4 per cent that month compared with a year earlier. That's down slightly from January's 5.7 per cent rise.

Prices are rising even as sales have levelled off in recent months. The number of homes for sale last month was 1.5 per cent lower than a year earlier. That's pushed buyers to act quickly, with homes on the market just 47 days in March, according to the National Realtors' Association.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The February figures are the latest available.

Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press