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FHFA: Home Prices Nearing Pinnacle Reached in 2007

prices-up [1]The Federal Housing Finance Agency [2] released its February data on U.S. home prices Wednesday, and the numbers are almost back to their pinnacle.

U.S. house prices overall rose 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from January to February, according to the agency’s monthly House Price Index report [3]. Prices were up 5.4 percent nationwide compared to this time last year.

The HPI is calculated by using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae [4] and Freddie Mac [5].

The strongest region in the February report was the South Atlantic, which for the first time since December showed an increase. House prices in the South Atlantic rose 1.8 percent in February, after two consecutive months of decreases.

New England was a close second, showing a 1.6 percent increase in February, after four straight months of modest growth. Each region saw house prices climb 6.4 percent since February 2014, though the largest year-over-year increase occurred in the Pacific, where house prices leaped almost 7 percent since last year, according to the report.

The only region to see a drop in house prices in February was the East South Central (comprised of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama). This region saw house prices decrease 1.3 percent, after reporting increases of more than 2 percent in each of the prior two months. Overall, the region is up 3.3 percent from last year. The lowest year-over-year figure was the 2.6 percent increase in house prices in the Middle Atlantic region.

The U.S. market overall has increased steadily since September 2011, and is where it was in September 2007, just six months after the index’s all-time peak.

FHFA’s data is much the same as that of  CoreLogic [6], which earlier this month [7] released its latest Home Price Index [8]. That report found that U.S. home prices were up 1.1 percent from January to February and up 5.6 percent from a year ago. It was the third consecutive year in which house price values increased.