U.S. home prices rose a seasonally-adjusted 0.7% from January to February, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Wednesday in its monthly House Price Index. February's rate of increase slowed slightly from January’s downwardly revised 1% increase. For the 12 months ending in February, U.S. home prices fell 6.5%, plunging the U.S. index 9.5% below its April 2007 peak. The Pacific census division -- spanning Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California -- posted the strongest geographic gain in home purchase price, rising 3.8% over January's data. The New England census division -- covering Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut -- saw the second-largest gain of 2.2% over January's purchase prices. One of only three census divisions to post a month-over-month decline, the East North Central region -- including Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio -- saw the worst slip of -1.2% in February's home purchase prices. U.S. houses sold in February at roughly the same average price as April 2005, FHFA found in its calculation of the index, using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNM) or Freddie Mac (FRE). Read February's report. Write to Diana Golobay at diana.golobay@housingwire.com. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.