U.S. home prices fell 0.3% on a seasonally-adjusted basis from April to May, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's (OFHEO) monthly House Price Index (HPI).

The decline was less than half the 0.8% drop between March and April but brings the total drop for the 12 months ending in May to 4.8%. Since the April 2007 peak, prices have fallen 4.9%.

The OFHEO monthly index, because it is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, currently excludes the higher end of the housing market and thus does not reflect homes purchased with jumbo mortgages or cash. It thus considerably understates home prices compared to data from the National Association of Realtors and the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

For the nine Census Divisions, seasonally-adjusted monthly price changes from April to May were +0.3% in the Pacific, -0.2% in the Mountain, flat in the West North Central, -1% in the West South Central, +0.1% in the East North Central, -.05% in the East South Central, -0.8% in New England, +0.1% in the Middle Atlantic and -1.2% in the South Atlantic.OFHEO pointed out that the increase in the Pacific Division was the first since March 2007.

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

The national index stood at 214.2 at the end of May, based on an base index of 100 in January, 1991. The index is now at the same level as November, 2005, meaning prices have fallen back to those levels and are slightly more than twice what they were back in 1991.