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by CareyBot

Freddie Mac today announced that its quarterly Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index (CMHPI) found growth in home values increased by an annualized rate of 8.5 percent in the first quarter of 2004, which is down considerably from the fourth quarter but higher than the year-ago period. The first-quarter rate is up from the annualized rate of the first quarter of 2003 when the growth rate was 5.1 percent. "The first quarter of the year was great for the housing market," said Amy Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac's deputy chief economist. "Low and declining mortgage rates over the quarter that bottomed out in March at 5.4 percent for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, pushed homes sales to a healthy 7.37 million units (annualized rate), and this strong housing demand helped keep house-price appreciatio...