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Home Price Declines on the Slowdown

While home values continue to fall, the rate of price depreciation has moderated in all nine regions of the US, Freddie Mac (FRE) says in a report released today. The GSE's Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index (CMHPI), which tracks only purchases, recorded a 5.3% annualized decline in US home prices during Q109, following a more severe 18.5% drop in Q408. "The improvement in house-price change...is consistent with other housing market data that point to the highest level of home-purchase affordability in at least 40 years and a stabilization in existing home sales and single-family construction in the first quarter, albeit at low levels of activity," says Frank Nothaft, Freddie mac vice president and chief economist, in a statement. The emerging trend of improvement was fairly consistent across all nine regions, with the rate of depreciation lessening in seven regions and switching to modest appreciation in two. The New England and East North Central divisions -- including Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, among others -- experienced an increase in home values of 0.8% and 0.5%, respectively. Home prices in the Pacific region fell farthest, decreasing 4.7% from the prior month. Over the past year, home prices have dropped 8.4% -- that's less than the 9.7% annual decline recorded between Q407 and Q408, according to Freddie Mac. On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Administration released similar reports showing home prices were falling, yet at slower pace, showing a positive trend among industry data. Freddie Mac's CMPHI Classic Series Index, which includes data from both home purchase transactions and refinancings, found home values depreciated 4% over the past year, less than the 5.3% decline over the year ending in Q408. Write to Kelly Curran.

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