FHFA: Home prices increase marginally in November

On a seasonally adjusted basis, home prices rose modestly in November from the month before, but fell by roughly the same margin from a year earlier.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, home prices rose modestly in November from the month before, but fell by roughly the same margin from a year earlier.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index for November, residential prices hiked 1 percent month-to-month to a reading of 183.8. However, the index dipped 1.8 percent from November 2010, and remains well below its peak reached in April 2007.

The HPI jumped on a monthly basis in every region reported by the FHFA except for the Middle Atlantic area, where the index declined 0.2 percent. The region with the greatest increase in the index was the West South Central region, where prices climbed 2.1 percent from October.

On an annual basis, though, the FHFA's property data shows prices decreased in every region, falling the furthest in Pacific region, which experienced a drop of 4.2 percent. The HPI remained mostly the same in the West North Central area.

The Mountain and New England regions finished November as the only areas of the U.S. with indices higher than 200, the report indicates. The East North Central area ended the month with the lowest HPI once again - 163.5

Some real estate experts have expressed that continually low home prices may not be enough to spark a rise in home sales in early 2012. A number of housing analysts have stated further government inclusion in the mortgage and real estate markets is needed to stabilize home sales.

Following the announcement by President Barack Obama during his State of the Union speech that he would offer further refinancing help to homeowners in need, Columbia Business School professor Christopher Mayer told Bloomberg he thinks the initiative could help improve market conditions.

"It's going to help homeowners who are struggling and it's likely to be a first step to really opening up the market to more normal credit standards," Mayer, who proposed a mass refi program in 2008, told the news source.

In addition to a refinancing program, though, some analysts say the government should help make homeownership more affordable for buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines during the housing crisis.

In an opinion editorial for the New York Times, James Wilcox, professor of business in the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, stated a down payment protection plan could help prospective buyers afford homes for sale.



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