The national home price index increased 5.8 percent in March, while analysts were expecting home prices to rise by 5.9 percent for the month, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.
The 10-city index gained 5.2% over the year, and the 20-city index gained 5.9%, both unchanged from February.
Meanwhile, the widely tracked 20-city home price index rose 5.9 percent from a year ago in March, the most since July 2014. That slightly beat the expectations of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, who expected the 20-city index to rise 5.8% in March.
"Over the previous year, analysts suggested that one factor pushing prices higher was the unusually low inventory of homes for sale", said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The strong growth in prices also poses a challenge for first-time buyers trying to get into the market this year. Then prices grew by more than 14% for much of 2005.
The largest annual gain was in Seattle, where prices have surged 12.3 per cent. Portland, Oregon recorded a 9.2 per cent increase, while Dallas prices rose 8.6 per cent. Dallas, which recently replaced Denver in the top three, reported a 8.6% annual increase in home prices.
The local increase was well ahead of the nationwide home price increase of 5.8 percent from March 2016 levels. After seasonal adjustment, 17 of 20 cities saw prices rise. New home sales dropped 10.4% last month due to similar challenges, according to the Commerce Department.