Second month of 2013 sees rise in home prices

In its latest Home Price Index, the Federal Housing Finance Agency outlined a 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted rise in housing prices, which was recorded between January and February of this year.

Current homeowners may be experiencing a heightened sense of safety and soundness in recent months, as national home prices repeatedly saw increases during the last year. The positive trends exhibited in 2012 may have continued into this year, as the first two months of 2013 saw notable improvement.

In its latest Home Price Index, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) outlined a 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted rise in housing prices recorded between January and February of this year. For the 12 month period concluding in February, national home prices rose 7.1 percent. The recent gain moved the index to a level similar to that recorded during October 2004, as the current reading is 13.6 percent below its peak point - which was recorded in April 2007. 

With the recording of present conditions, the two organizations announced American housing prices have not shown a month-over-month decline since January 2012.

February may have seen an overall increase, but seasonally adjusted monthly price changes varied widely for the nine census divisions the FHFA uses to calculate its index. The Middle Atlantic division, which includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, experienced a 0.6 percent fall month-over-month, but a an increase of 1.9 percent year-over-year.

"The market was fairly strong in January and February and it continues to expand fairly robustly," Peter Morici, a professor of business at the University of Maryland, told Bloomberg News.

Current homeowners may be looking to improve property
Aside from the national economy and housing market conditions, another way individuals can see their house's price appreciate is through home improvement - and spending on such projects may see a marked rise in the near future. According to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) recently released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, homeowners are expected to increase their spending on improvement and remodeling projects in the coming months.

The Joint Center's managing director, Eric Belsky, said with heightened housing values and home sales, many individuals may again be looking to invest in their dwellings.

"Existing home sales were up almost 9 percent last year, and house prices are increasing in most markets across the country," Belsky said. "This has increased the home equity levels for most homeowners, encouraging them to reinvest in their homes."

Those homeowners who hope to find additional funds for improvements or pay down their home loans faster may benefit from the low rates recently exhibited by mortgage records. Refinancing an existing loan, or locking in a mortgage can help consumers to gain financial stability. 

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