WASHINGTON - U.S. home price gains cooled in February for the third month in a row, as harsh winter weather and high buying costs have slowed sales.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 12.9 percent in February compared with 12 months earlier. While healthy, that is down from a 13.2 percent gain in January.
And home prices fell in 13 of the 20 cities in February compared with the previous month. The index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so those declines partly reflect weaker sales in the winter.
In addition to bad weather, sales have also been held back by a limited supply of available homes, which has forced potential buyers to bid up prices. Most economists forecast that price gains will keep dropping this year.