The Federal Housing Finance Agency, regulatory parent of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported Thursday that its seasonally adjusted House Price Index declined 0.3% from November to December and 0.8% for the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year earlier.

The unadjusted national decline was 2.2%. During the past year, seasonally adjusted prices fell 3.9% from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2010.

FHFA's seasonally adjusted monthly increase for the October-to-November period was revised downward from an initial estimate of 0.0% to -0.3%.

"Lingering unemployment and elevated inventories of for-sale homes contributed to the ongoing decline of house prices," said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco.

While the national, purchase-only house price index fell 3.9% year-over-year, FHFA said prices of other goods and services rose 1.8% over the same period. The inflation-adjusted price of homes thus fell approximately 5.7% over the latest year.

Among the nine Census regions on a sequential basis, the Mountain was among only two gainers, with prices up 3%. The South Atlantic was the other gainer, up 0.3%. The biggest drops were in the East South Central, down 1.2%, and the West South Central, down 1.1%. The remainder of the regions were down less than 1%.

Year-over-year, all regions were down, led by a drop of 5.6% in the Mountain, followed by a -5.4% in the Pacific, -3.8 in the South Atlantic, -3.3% in the East South Central, -2.7% in both the West South Central and the East North Central, -2.6% in the West North Central, -2.1 in the Middle Atlantic, and -1.6% in New England.

The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from only Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-acquired mortgages.