Home Prices See 0.3 Percent Gain Over First Two Months of 2012
U.S. house prices rose 0.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from January to February, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). While prices in January were unchanged according to initial estimates reported in the last HPI release, the January result has been revised downward to reflect a 0.5 percent decrease. For the 12 months ending in February, U.S. prices rose 0.4 percent, the first 12-month increase since the July 2006-July 2007 interval. The U.S. index remains 19.4 percent below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the January 2004 index level. The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)—Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from January to February ranged from -1.0 percent in the West North Central and Middle Atlantic divisions, to +1.9 percent in the Mountain division.