Home prices declined just less than one percent (0.6) in August compared to the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which released its monthly home price index today. That represents the tiniest of improvements; in July, the index showed a monthly decline of 0.8 percent.
(The FHFA is the successor to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which has produced this home price index since 1996.)
Year-over-year, the FHA showed a drop of 5.9 percent in home prices across the country in August. This marker of home prices tends to show less dramatic drops than its counterpart, the S&P Case-Shiller home price index, because of its broader geographic base and more selective database of transactions; the FHFA only tracks home purchases made with mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
But such national trends offer little comfort to builders or homeowners in the states of Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California. This region of the country registered a stunning 19.4 percent plunge in home values compared to the same month a year ago, dramatically outstripping the rest of the country. The second-largest annual decline happened in the Mountain region, which includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. These states reported a 6.7 percent drop in the prices of their homes compared to the previous year.
Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.