House prices inched higher in July, but are down 3.3% for the year ended July 31 and 18.4% lower than the April 2007 peak, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The regulator, which holds Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conservatorship, said July home prices increased 0.8% and are at levels last seen in March 2004. The agency lowered June’s gain to 0.7% from a previously reported 0.9% increase. The FHFA index includes the price of properties backing mortgages sold to or guaranteed by the government-sponsored enterprises. Prices rose 3.6% in July in the West North Central Census region, according to the FHFA, while prices in the South Atlantic region fell 0.4% in July. The agency said the West North Central region, which includes the Plains States west of the Mississippi River, was the only area of the country to see home prices rise in the 12 months through the end of July. Write to Jason Philyaw. Follow him on Twitter: @jrphilyaw

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