Home prices in the U.S. rose in May, marking the second consecutive monthly increase, the ""Federal Housing Finance Agency"":http://www.fhfa.gov (FHFA) reported Thursday. Before the string of two-month gains, FHFA's market gauge had recorded declines in property prices for 10 straight months.[IMAGE] [COLUMN_BREAK]
The agency's monthly House Price Index (HPI) is calculated using purchase prices of homes backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com and ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com.
The index rose 0.4 percent from April to May. However, U.S. prices were down 6.3 percent from May 2010, which enjoyed a stimulus boost from federal tax credits.
FHFA also noted that the previously reported 0.8 percent increase in April was revised downward to a 0.2 percent increase.
The agency's U.S. index remains 19.6 percent below its April 2007 peak. FHFA says its measurement of current prices is roughly the same as the January 2004 index level.
For the nine Census divisions, price changes from April to May ranged from -1.0 percent in the West South Central division (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana) to +2.0 percent in the Mountain division (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico).