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WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices climbed at a solid pace in August as more home buyers competed for fewer available properties.

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The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.1 percent in August, after a 5 percent gain in July. Portland, Seattle and Denver reported the strongest year-over-year increases for the seventh month in a row, with gains of 11.7 percent, 11.4 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively.

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Steady hiring, low mortgage rates and some early signs of rising pay have encouraged more Americans to buy homes. Sales of existing properties increased 3.2 percent in September from August, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

Yet the number of homes for sale has fallen nearly 7 percent from a year ago, the NAR said.

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