FHFA Reports Higher Home Prices in February

House for Sale
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The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported this morning that U.S. home prices rose 0.7% month-over-month in February, following the January housing price index gain of 0.6%. For the 12-month period ending in February 2012, U.S. housing prices rose 7.1%.

The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses with mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Home prices are recovering fastest in the Pacific states, which saw a price hike of 15.3%, compared with February 2012. Over the past 12 months, home prices are up in every region of the country.

The good news on house prices — for sellers — is that they continue to rise in all regions of the country. The good news for buyers is that housing prices are still 13.6% below the 2007 peak and mortgage loan rates are very low. The purchase price index for February is roughly equal to the index level in October 2004.