WASHINGTON — As the 2014 spring buying season begins, the U.S. housing market faces an unusual dilemma: Too few people are selling homes, but too few buyers can afford the homes that are for sale.

A 13.4 percent jump in the average price of homes sold last year hasn’t managed to coax more homeowners to sell.

And higher prices, combined with higher mortgage rates, have made homes costlier for many buyers.

Real estate, much like the rest of the economy, is still trudging back to health nearly a half-decade after the recession ended.

After last year’s growth spurt, the housing recovery may have begun an awkward adolescence, one prone to fits and starts that can defy predictions.

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