U.S. house prices fell in the fourth quarter of 2010 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). The HPI, calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-acquired mortgages, was 0.8 percent lower on a seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter of 2010. The unadjusted national decline was 2.2 percent. Over the past year, seasonally adjusted prices fell 3.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2010. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was down 0.3 percent from its November value. The monthly increase for the October to November period was revised downward from an initial estimate of 0.0 percent to -0.3 percent. “Lingering unemployment and elevated inventories of for-sale homes contributed to the ongoing decline of house prices,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. While the national, purchase-only house price index fell 3.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2010, prices of other goods and services rose 1.8 percent over the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes fell approximately 5.7 percent over the latest year. FHFA’s all-transactions house price index, which includes data from mortgages used for both home purchases and refinancings, decreased 0.8 percent in the latest quarter and is down 1.3 percent over the four-quarter period. The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI declined in the fourth quarter in 35 states plus the District of Columbia. Prices rose in the latest quarter in 15 states. Of the nine Census Divisions, the East North Central Division and the Mountain Division experienced the most significant price movements in the latest quarter. While prices rose 0.1 percent in New England, prices fell 2.2 percent in the Mountain Division. As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., four-quarter price declines were greatest in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. area. That area saw price declines of 15.3 percent between the fourth quarters of 2009 and 2010. Prices held up best in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo. area, where prices rose 3.7 percent over that period. For more information, visit www.fhfa.gov.