NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. single-family home prices rose in December, led by strong increases in the western half of the United States, a closely watched survey said on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 4.5 percent in December from the prior year. This was above a Reuters poll of economists that forecast a rise of 4.3 percent, as well as the 4.3 percent growth rate in November.
"While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.
"The softness in housing is despite favorable conditions elsewhere in the economy: strong job growth, a declining unemployment rate, continued low interest rates and positive consumer confidence."
(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)