June 22, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly home prices in the United States increased 0.8 percent from March to April, marking the fifth time in the last six months that monthly home prices have improved according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI),

April’s home prices were 3.0 percent higher than they were a year ago, the third consecutive month that annual home prices have improved after having declined every month since July 2007. Home prices are at roughly the same levels last seen in April 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.

Six of the nine Census Divisions posted monthly price gains in April with the Pacific Division recording the most improvement of 2.2 percent, followed by the Mountain Division with a 1.9 percent gain with both the West North Central Division and the South Atlantic Divisions each recording a monthly price gain of 1.2 percent.

The New England Division posted the largest decline of 1.2 percent followed by the East South Central and West North Central Divisions with declines of 0.4 and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Seven of the nine Divisions registered year-over-year price gains with the Mountain Division posting the largest yearly increase of 6.5 percent followed by the South Atlantic Division where prices improved by 4.2 percent and the West South Central Division with a gain of 4.1 percent.

The New England and Middle Atlantic Divisions were the only two Divisions to see a year-over-year decrease, falling 2.6 and 0.9 percent, respectively.

FHFA April 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