The good news? If you hold a conforming mortgage, the relative loss of equity compared to that befalling other, less fortunate souls in the U.S. housing market has been far less painful. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s price index, which tracks purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNM: 0.71 -9.60%) or Freddie Mac (FRE: 0.80 -3.60%), home prices were off 5.9 percent from year-ago levels during August.
In comparison, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index posted a 16.3 percent decline during July, the most recent monthly data available. The Case-Shiller data adds in non-conforming mortgage data, in contrast with the FHFA dataset, and in those mortgage markets the pain of price corrections has been particularly more acute.
Home prices fell 0.6 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis from July to August, according to the FHFA data, slightly less than the 0.8 percent drop recorded in July. The peak-to-current price decline — since April 2007’s peak, in FHFA’s data — is now at 6.5 percent.
National home prices now stand at Sept. 2005 levels, FHFA said in a press statement. Read the full HPI report.
All U.S. census division tracked by the FHFA posted a month-to-month price decline in August, led by a 1.8 percent drop in prices in the Pacific region, which includes California. The Pacific region has seen prices fall by 19.4 percent, according to the FHFA’s data.
The nation’s least affected housing market, relative to year-ago home price totals, is the West South Central census region, which includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana. The region has seen prices remain relatively flat, posting a slight 0.2 percent drop in home prices during the past twelve months. Texas in particular has been singled out by economists and analysts as maintaining both a strong economy and relatively resilient housing market amidst the growing financial crisis, due largely to a booming energy market.
For more information, visit http://www.ofheo.gov.