Widely seen as the leading measure of U.S. home prices, the S&P Dow Jones Indices is a monthly look at home values that has been conducted for more than 27 years. According to the most recent release, national home prices are up 5.8 percent over last year, with the largest gains seen in the West and South. David M. Blitzer managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, says there’s some regional variation in how quickly prices are rising, but generally the issue is the number of homes available for sale. “Over the last year, analysts suggested that one factor pushing prices higher was the unusually low inventory of homes for sale,” Blitzer said in a press release. “People are staying in their homes longer rather than selling and trading up.” Because of this, there are fewer homes for buyers to choose from but home sellers, on the other hand, enjoy increasingly favorable conditions. And yet, many current homeowners are staying put. If more homeowners put their homes up for sale, and new home construction continues to improve, the market will balance in the coming months and home price increases will begin to moderate. More here.