The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the successor to OFHEO as the overseer of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, reported Wednesday that prices of U.S. homes backed by conforming loans rose 0.7% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in February. The previously reported January rise of 1.7%, however, was adjusted down to 1.0%.
The rise was in line with Wall Street estimates.
For the 12 months ending in February, U.S. prices fell 6.5%. The U.S. index is 9.5% below its April 2007 peak. The index is now roughly even with April 2005.
The biggest jump in prices came in the Pacific Census Division, which was up 3.8% over January but is still off 19.1% year over year. Among the other Census Divisions, January-to-February and Feb. 2008-Feb. 2009 respectively, Mountain was up 0.1% and down 9.2%; West North Central up 1.5% and down 1.6%; West South Central up 1.9% and up 0.6%; East North Central down 1.2% and down 4.1%; East South Central down 0.2% and down 2.9%; New England up 2.2% and down 3.0%; Middle Atlantic up 0.7% and down 4.1%; and South Atlantic down 0.8% and down 8.0%.
The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and thus do not reflect prices in much of the move-up and high-end housing markets.