U.S. home prices appreciated at a strong pace in the first quarter as prices rose 1.9 percent from the previous quarter, the ""Federal Housing Finance Agency"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA) reported. The quarterly gain marks the seventh straight increase.[IMAGE]
Compared to the first quarter of 2012, prices were up by 6.7 percent, according to the FHFA's seasonally adjusted, purchase only House Price Index (HPI). From February to March, the index increased by 1.3 percent.
""The housing market has stabilized in many areas and homebuilding activity has strengthened in recent quarters,"" said Andrew Leventis, FHFA principal economist. ""That said, labor market weakness and still-elevated foreclosure pipelines remain hindrances to a more robust recovery.""[COLUMN_BREAK]
While the HPI is higher by 6.7 percent compared to last year, prices of other goods and services rose by just 1.4 percent during the same time period. When adjusted for inflation, this means prices were up by about 5.2 percent from last year, according to the FHFA.
FHFA also reported 41 states plus the District of Columbia experienced quarterly price gains.
California and Nevada led quarterly price appreciation with respective increases of 5.33 percent and 5.27 percent. The largest year-over-year price gains were concentrated in Western states, led by Nevada, Arizona, and California, where increases ranged from around 16 to 22 percent.
On a regional basis, the agency found the Pacific division experienced the strongest quarterly increase, at 4.4 percent, while growth was the weakest in the Middle Atlantic division, where prices were up by just 0.3 percent.
The report also covered price changes in the 75 most populated metro areas. Jacksonville, Florida saw prices rise by 9.3 percent over the last quarter, the largest gain out of any other metro. Meanwhile, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut experienced the biggest quarterly drop in prices at 3.5 percent.
The agency's index covers home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.