Home prices fell 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier, with four of nine regions posting gains, according to a home price index published by Freddie Mac.

The Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index — which tracks resales of homes with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae — was registering a 9.5 percent year-over-year decline at the same point in 2008.

Low interest rates and the first-time homebuyer tax credit helped boost home sales to their highest level in 2 1/2 years during the final quarter of 2009 after a seasonal adjustment, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Home prices fell 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier, with four of nine regions posting gains, according to a home price index published by Freddie Mac.

The Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index — which tracks resales of homes with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae — was registering a 9.5 percent year-over-year decline at the same point in 2008.

Low interest rates and the first-time homebuyer tax credit helped boost home sales to their highest level in 2 1/2 years during the final quarter of 2009 after a seasonal adjustment, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

The purchase-only index excludes refinancings, which provide data from appraisals. A separate index that includes both home purchases and refinancings showed home values falling 4.3 percent from a year ago.

Both indexes can understate price volatility because they don’t include mortgages too large or too risky for Fannie and Freddie.

Regions seeing year-over-year price gains were the Pacific Division (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington), up 1.6 percent; the East South Central Division (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee), up 0.8 percent; the West South Central Division (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas) up 1.5 percent; and the West North Central Division (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota) up 1.1 percent.

Prices were essentially flat from a year ago in the Middle Atlantic Division (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania), which was down 0.1 percent; and the New England Division (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont), down 0.1 percent.

Prices fell 7 percent from a year ago in the Mountain Division (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming); 1.8 percent in the South Atlantic Division (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.); and 0.9 percent in the East North Central Division (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin).

Looking back 5 years, home prices were up 1.7 percent on average, with considerable variation by region. The index showed home prices in the East South Central Division up 14.4 percent from 5 years ago, for example, while prices were down 8 percent in the Pacific Division during the same period.

***

What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Refer, reward, repeat. Share a 90-day free trial and get $$$.Refer & Earn×