U.S. home prices fell a seasonally adjusted one-tenth of a percent from March to April, and were down three-tenths of a percent in the first four months of the year, according to a government house price index that excludes many homes purchased with risky mortgages.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency

U.S. home prices fell a seasonally adjusted one-tenth of a percent from March to April, and were down three-tenths of a percent in the first four months of the year, according to a government house-price index that excludes many homes purchased with risky mortgages.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index tracks the purchase prices of homes backing mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Monthly data are volatile, but "we may be starting to see signs of stabilization in prices for houses funded by conventional conforming loans" in the numbers for the first four months of the year, FHFA Director James Lockhart said in a statement.

FHFA’s home-price index shows home prices down 6.8 percent from a year ago, and off 11.2 percent from their April 2007 peak. Because it doesn’t track homes purchased with riskier subprime loans, the index may understate price increases and declines.

From March to April, prices were down in five of nine Census Divisions: the West South Central (-0.7 percent), South Atlantic (-0.6 percent), Pacific (-0.3 percent), East North Central (-0.2 percent), and the Middle Atlantic (-0.1 percent).

Prices were up in four Census Divisions: the Mountain (1.3 percent), New England (0.9 percent) East South Central (0.7 percent), and West North Central (0.6 percent).

All nine Census Divisions have seen year-over-year price declines, led by the Pacific (-17.1 percent), Mountain (-10.2 percent), and South Atlantic (-9.8 percent). Divisions with less severe annual declines were the East North Central (-4.5 percent), Middle Atlantic (-3.3 percent), East South Central (-3 percent), West North Central (-2.9 percent), New England (-2.1 percent) and West South Central (-1.3 percent).

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