Home prices continue to improve in small ways across the country, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency

Five of nine U.S. Census divisions reported gains in July, which left the overall U.S. home price index in positive territory with a 0.3% gain on a monthly basis. Year-over-year, July’s numbers were off 4.2% compared to the same month one year ago.

On a regional basis, the strongest improvements came from the Pacific (Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California), where home prices improved 1.6% in July. The Middle Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) posted a 1% gain, followed by the South Atlantic (up 0.6%), which covers Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Both the Mountain (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New
) and the West North Central (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri) regions recorded home price increases of 0.3% in July.

The remaining four Census regions all posted monthly declines of less than 1%.

The FHFA home price index is based on the purchase prices of homes with loans owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in all 50 states. This typically results in less dramatic home price changes than the competing S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, which focuses on all homes sold (including those with jumbo loans) in 20 major housing markets around the country.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.