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US home prices increase 4.9 percent in May from year ago as sales accelerate

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WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rose at a steady pace in May, pushed higher by a healthy increase in sales this year.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 4.9 percent in May from 12 months earlier, down slightly from a 5 percent pace in April, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Home sales have jumped in recent months as an improving economy boosts hiring and enables more people to afford a purchase. Yet the higher sales haven't encouraged more people to sell their homes, leaving supplies tight and pushing up prices.

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 May figures are the latest available.

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