April 25, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly home prices in the United States increased 0.3 percent from January to February according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI), which also revised January’s results from unchanged to a loss of 0.5 percent.

February’s home prices were 0.4 percent higher than they were a year ago, the first such increase in year-over-year prices since July 2007, but were still 19.4 percent below the market peak in April 2007 and are at roughly the same levels last seen in January of 2004.

FHFA gathers its data by calculating purchase prices of houses backed by mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The data is then broken down into nine geographic Census Divisions.

Five of the nine Census Divisions posted monthly price gains in February with the Mountain Division recording the most improvement of 1.9 percent, followed by the West South Central Division with a 1.5 percent gain and the East South Central Division which recorded a monthly price gain of 1.0 percent.

Of the four Divisions that posted declines, the West North Central and Middle Atlantic Divisions posted identical declines of 1.0 percent followed by the Pacific Division which posted a decline of 0.7 percent.

Six of the Divisions registered year-over-year price gains with the West South Central Division posting the largest increase of 3.6 percent followed by the West North Central Division where prices improved by 2.7 percent. Of the three Divisions that posted price declines over the last year, the Pacific Division recorded the worst performance, falling by 2.4 percent.

FHFA February Price Index

Census Divisions:

Pacific: Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California

Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico

West North Central: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri

West South Central: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana

East North Central: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio

East South Central: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama

New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut

Middle Atlantic: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

South Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida

Tags: FHFA, home prices, HPI, census divisions, price gains, price declines