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FHFA: House Prices Up in April

On Tuesday the ""Federal Housing Finance Agency"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA) reported a slight 0.8 percent rise in home prices from March to April, representing a positive note in an otherwise brittle housing market that has been buffeted by volatile economic progress over the past six months.

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The ""FHFA's"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ monthly House Price Index, which recorded a 0.3 percent dip in March, revised the number to reflect a 0.4 percent increase. The 12-month stretch for home values ending in April struck out at 5.7 percent, steadying at 19.3 percent below an April 2007 high and resembling the January 2004 index data.

Asked about why house prices saw an upward nudge in April, Andrew Leventis, ""FHFA's"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ senior economist, cited ""unclear"" variables, attributing the uncertainties to ""a great deal of volatility even in the best of times when the markets are the way they are.""

The ""FHFA"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ also reported shifting prices in two regions, with a 1.3 percent decline in the Mountain region alongside a 2.2 percent increase that marked the highest upward-bound trend for prices. The other nine census-designated areas failed to report any changes.

""Even though we see a blip in prices in April, according to our most recent data, that blip may be revised in"" future ""FHFA"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ indices, Leventis added. ""There is a fair bit of volatility in markets and markets are looking for direction. April seems to be reasonably robust but it will take awhile for us to see how spring prices fare.""

According to its statement, the ""FHFA"":http://www.fhfa.gov/ manages the House Price Index by calculating the purchase prices for houses backing mortgages purchased and guaranteed by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/kb/index?page=home and ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/.

This ""House Price Index"":http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/21605/MonthlyHPI62211F.pdf for the past several months emerges from a backdrop of reports, including a Fannie Mae forecast released on Monday that predicts a 2.9 percent to 2.5 percent decline in economic growth this year.

Orawin Velz, ""Fannie Mae's"":http://www.fanniemae.com/kb/index?page=home director of economic and mortgage market analysis, underscored the roles that low job growth and a weaker labor market played in home prices over the past six months.

""Employment is very weak,"" Velz said. ""It makes people├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª more cautious and hesitant to enter the market.""

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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