The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported this morning that U.S. home prices rose 1.9% sequentially in the first quarter of 2013. Compared to the first quarter of 2012, the house price index gained of 6.7%. The seasonally adjusted monthly index for March rose 1.3% from February.
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 4.4%, compared with the first quarter of 2012. Of the 75 most populous metropolitan areas in the United States, the largest one-year gain in house prices occurred in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, where prices rose 9.3%.
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 more than 12% below the April 2007 peak and mortgage loan rates remain low, although they have been rising slightly. The purchase price index for March is roughly equal to the index level in November 2004.