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Report: U.S. Home Prices Show Gains

The ""Federal Housing Finance Agency"":http://www.fhfa.gov (FHFA) ""reported"":http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/2118/1Q09m02F.pdf on Wednesday that U.S. home prices rose 0.7 percent from January to February, based on the purchase prices of homes owned or guaranteed by the GSEs. It's the second month in a row that FHFA has recorded a national gain in residential real estate values. From December to January, the agency said, prices rose a full percentage point at the national level.
Although the recent gains are a welcome departure from months of steady declines, property values still have a ways to go to recover from the hole that's been dug by the housing crisis. Based on ""FHFA's market data"":http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/2118/1Q09m02F.pdf, for the 12 months ending in February, the national House Price Index (HPI) is down 6.5 percent. The U.S. index is 9.5 percent below its April 2007 peak. February's numbers are currently sitting at about the same level as home prices in April 2005, the agency said.
On a regional basis, monthly price changes from January to February ranged from +3.8 percent in the Pacific region, which includes California, to -1.2 percent in the East North Central part of the country. In addition to the East North Central Census Division, only the East South Central and South Atlantic divisions recorded home price declines.
+_Monthly home price changes by Census Division:_+
- Pacific (Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California): +3.8 percent
- New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut): +2.2 percent
- West South Central (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana): +1.9 percent
- West North Central (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri): +1.5 percent
- Middle Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania): +0.7 percent
- Mountain (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico): +0.1 percent
- East South Central (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama): -0.2 percent
- South Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida): -0.8 percent
- East North Central (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio): -1.2 percent
The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com or ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.

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