NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.8 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a 0.7 percent rise.

On a February year-over-year basis, home prices roses 12.9 percent. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected year-over-year prices to increase 13.0 percent. Prices had increased at at a 13.2 percent year-over-year rate in January.

"Despite continued price gains, most other housing statistics are weak," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, who cited new and existing home sales data.

"The recovery in housing starts, now less than one million units at annual rates, is faltering. Moreover, home prices nationally have not made it back to 2005."

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices were flat in February compared with January.

Prices in the 20 cities rose 12.9 percent year over year, just shy of expectations for 13 percent.