WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices increased at a slower pace in February, a sign that several years of outsized gains in home values have created affordability challenges in many metro areas.The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 3% from a year earlier, down from an annual gain of 3.5% in January.After the damage from the 2008 financial crisis began to fade, home values started to climb in 2012 and consistently outstripped wage growth. This made it more difficult for would-be buyers to save for a down payment and existing home owners to upgrade to a more expensive property.Price increases were strongest in the Sunbelt. Last Vegas reported a 9.7% price increase, followed by Phoenix at 6.7% and Tampa with a 5.4%.Josh Boak, The Associated Press

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