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Home prices improve, affordability for renters doesn't

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January home prices in the Twin Cities Home rose by 9.4 percent over the same month of the previous year, according to the latest Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

The Star Tribune reports that nationally, prices rose 13.2 percent from 2013. The index's 20-city composite indicates that 12 cities saw their annual rates worsen.

Reuters has another take on the national housing market, with statistics released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Dept. It finds that sales of new single-family homes hit a five-month low in February, but blamed the drop on the bitter weather than gripped much of the nation. New home sales fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units, the lowest level since last September.

Meanwhile, MPR News reports that the problem of housing affordability for the state's renters has not eased. According to the Minnesota Housing Partnership, one of the advocacy groups working with the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the situation is especially troubling for Minnesota's low income workers.

The report said that full-time workers would have to earn $16.50 per hour to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental in Minnesota that averages about $850 a month. But the typical renter in the state only makes about $14.50 per hour.

The Minnesota Housing Partnership and other housing groups are seeking $100 million in bonding for affordable housing projects at the state legislature.

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