WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices posted their first annual gain since the housing bust, a sign that the market has hit bottom, according to a government home price index released Tuesday.
Home prices were up 0.4% in February from a year earlier, the first time the index has gained on a year-over-year basis since July 2007, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said. Compared with a month earlier, February’s index rose 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The nation’s housing market, however, is far from a robust rebound. The index is 19.4% below its peak in April 2007 and around the same level as in January 2004.
Prices in January, meanwhile, were down 0.5% from a month earlier. The previous index had said prices were flat that month.
February’s index value was 182.5. A reading of 100 is equal to the price of homes in January 1991.
The FHFA’s index is calculated by using the prices of houses purchased with mortgages backed by government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC). CONTINUE READING >>>