Home prices declined 0.3 percent nationally in May, according to the monthly index released today by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), which tracks the values of homes purchased with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Compared to the same period last year, the May figures represent a 4.8 percent annual drop in home prices across the country.

But today’s report also contained a few positive developments. Home prices in the Pacific region, which includes the states of Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California, rose 0.3 percent in the region’s first upward movement since March 2007, according to OFHEO. Still, Pacific home prices were still 14.5 percent lower in May than they were during the same time one year ago.

“It is very hard to draw conclusions from a one-month number, especially in these uncertain times; but the numbers in the Pacific, East [North Central], and West North Central divisions may be good signs,” OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart said.

As is often the case, the regional breakouts varied. The East North Central division of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio also reported a gain (of 0.1 percent) from April to May, but a 3.7 percent annual decline.  Home prices also increased by 0.1 percent in the Middle Atlantic, which is composed of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. (Year-over-year, Middle Atlantic home prices are down 2.1 percent.) Finally, prices stayed steady, with zero percent change in the West North Central region, which covers North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. Annually, home values have slipped 2.4 percent in those Midwestern states, according to OFHEO.

All other areas of the country reported monthly declines, with the biggest drop (down 1.2 percent) coming from the South Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

In terms of yearly trends, only one region of the country saw home prices rise in May: West South Central, which includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana.

For more information, visit http://www.ofheo.gov/newsroom.aspx?ID=448&q1=1&q2=None.

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

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