Freddie Sees House Prices Down Slightly in Q110

Home prices declined 1.1% in Q110 compared to the same quarter one year ago, according to purchase-only edition of Freddie Mac’s (FRE) Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index (CMHPI). Compared to Q409, prices are down 2.1%. However, despite the declines, prices in some regions of the country are still above 2005 levels. The purchase-only CMHPI includes property values based on home purchases with a conventional mortgage purchased by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae (FNM) by April 30, 2010. The 2.1% decline compares to the 3.2% price decline in the Standard & Poor’s (S&P)/Case-Shiller HPI and the 3% decline in the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) HPI. “House price measures tend to show a lot of seasonality, with values lower during the slow home-selling months of autumn and winter and higher during the greater-activity months of spring and summer,” said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft. “Examining year-over-year home-value changes largely controls for seasonality. Compared with the first quarter of 2009, the national index dipped slightly — down 1.1% — with three-of-nine regions posting price gains.” Freddie Mac also produces a CMHPI that includes data from both home purchase transactions and mortgage refinancings, basing refinancing values on appraisals. In that index, prices declined 1.5% in Q110 compared to Q109 and were also down 6.7% in Q110 compared to Q409. Within the purchase-only CMHPI, each of the nine Census Bureau divisions in the country experienced declines from Q409 to Q110 ranging from 0.4% in the Middle Atlantic Division to 3.2% in the West North Central Division. However, results were mixed comparing first quarter prices year-over-year, ranging from a decline of 6.1% in the Mountain Division to a 4.5% increase in the Pacific Division. “While values were up the most in the Pacific region over the past year, this gain occurred after values had fallen more than 30% over the two prior years, from the beginning of 2007 to the beginning of 2009,” Nothaft said. In three of the nine divisions, prices were up in Q110 compared to the same quarter of 2005. Prices are higher now in the West South Central (16.6%), Middle Atlantic (10.1%) and East South Central (8.7%) divisions than five years ago. Write to Austin Kilgore. The author held no relevant investments.

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