U.S. home prices fell in the fourth quarter of 2011 from a year earlier, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s purchase-only house price index.
The index, which uses sales price information from mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, declined 2.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2010 and inched lower by 0.1% from the third quarter. On an unadjusted basis, prices fell 1.1% for a year earlier.
The FHFA seasonally adjusted monthly index in December rose just 0.7% from November. Without the seasonal adjustment prices remained flat over the November-to-December period.
“While FHFA’s national index shows a two percentage point price decline over the latest four quarters, 12 states and the District of Columbia posted price increases,” said Andrew Leventis, FHFA principal economist.
“When coupled with the fact that about half of all U.S. states saw price increases in the latest quarter, this growth adds to mounting evidence that real estate markets are seeing at least some signs of life,” he said.
FHFA’s all-transactions house price index, which includes data from mortgages used for both home purchases and refinancings, fell 0.8% in the fourth quarter from the prior three months, but is down 2.9% from as year earlier.