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Home prices rise, but at slower pace in Feb., report finds

Boston-area home prices continued their march upward, but at a slower pace in February, according to a much-watched barometer of the residential real-estate market.

Single-family home prices rose by 8.5 percent from a year ago in February, after increasing 9 percent in January, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index released on Tuesday, Nationally, home prices rose 12.9 percent in February.

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While prices are rising, there are signs of weakness in the market, David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.

“Five years into the recovery from the recession, the economy will need to look to gains in consumer spending and business investment more than housing,” Blitzer said. “Long overdue activity in residential construction would be welcome, but is certainly not assured.”

In the Boston area, real estate agents and analysts have said that the shortage of homes for sale and pent-up demand are driving up prices.

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