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Charlotte-area home prices up 4.2%

Charlotte-area home prices increased 4.2 percent in February compared with a year earlier, according to data released Tuesday by the Standard & Poor’s Dow Jones Indices.

Between January and February, the non-seasonally adjusted prices rose 0.4 percent.

The Charlotte index, which measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average, is now at 135.77. Charlotte’s index peaked at 135.88 in August 2007. After that high during the housing bubble, the local index sank to a low of 108.39 in January 2012.

In the 20 large cities tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index, prices increased 5.4 percent year over year. Nationally, they increased 5.3 percent.

The western part of the country saw the largest gains. Prices appreciated the most in Portland, Oregon, with the cost of buying a house up 11.9 percent in February from a year earlier, and in Seattle, where prices grew 11 percent. Denver saw the next-largest increase, with prices rising 9.7 percent from a year ago.

The smallest annual growth was in Washington, D.C., which saw a 1.4 percent increase in home prices.

“Home prices continue to rise twice as fast as inflation, but the pace is easing off in the most recent numbers,” said David Blitzer, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Six cities experienced smaller monthly gains in February than in January.

The U.S. median existing-home sales price in March was $222,700, up 5.7 percent from March 2015. Inventory was at a 4.5-month supply, down from a 4.6-month supply a year earlier.

Prices grew at a slower pace in the Charlotte area, with the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association reporting that the median sales price grew 3.7 percent in the same period to $198,000.

Inventory, meanwhile, declined nearly 28 percent from a year ago, leaving the area with a 2.8-month supply of 10,145 homes for sale. A year ago, there were 14,046 homes on the market, which amounted to a 4.4-month supply.

The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales in March were up, boosted by large gains in the Northeast and Midwest.

The organization said sales jumped 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.07 million in February. Sales rose in all four major regions last month and were up 1.5 percent from March 2015.

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