The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported this morning that U.S. home prices rose 0.6% month-over-month in December following a downward revision of the November housing price index to a gain of 0.4%. For the 12-month period ending in December 2012, U.S. housing prices rose 5.5%.
The FHFA's principal economist noted:
The fourth quarter was another strong one for house prices, as it was the third consecutive quarter where U.S. price growth exceeded one percent. While a significant number of homes remained in the foreclosure pipeline, the actual number of homes available for sale was very low and fell over the course of the quarter.
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 Mountain states, which saw a price hike of 13.9% compared with December 2011. Over the past 12 months, home prices are up in every region of the country, although New England's rise is a small 0.48%.
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 discounts to the 2007 peak remain substantial and mortgage loan rates are near record lows.
The FHFA report is available here.
Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Housing, Research