OFHEO: Home Prices Suffer First Fourth Quarter Decline

February 26, 2008 No Comments »

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Home prices nationwide fell 1.3 percent during the fourth quarter, according to the OFHEO’s seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index.

The decline was much steeper than the 0.3 percent slide between the second and third quarters of 2007, swallowing up gains and leading to an annual price decline of 0.3 percent for the entire year.

“The year 2007 showed the first fourth-quarter decline in the purchase-only index since its earliest data in 1991,” OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart said.

But despite all states experiencing quarterly declines except Maine, only 16 showed price declines for the entire year.

“While the market weakness is most significant in areas that saw the greatest price run-ups during the boom, other states have clearly not been immune to recent declines,” he added.

The OFHEO’s all-transactions House Price Index, which includes data from purchases and refinances, showed a 0.1 percent increase over the last quarter, and a 0.8 percent gain over last year.

“Both OFHEO’s purchase-only index and the all-transactions index show relatively greater house price stability than do other nationwide house price indexes. That may reflect, in part, the greater stability in the prime, conforming mortgage market served by the Enterprises than in other segments of the mortgage market,” said Lockhart.

But a staggering 18 of the 20 cities with the worst price declines over the last four quarters were in California or Florida, where jumbo loans reign supreme.

The report also found that prices were weakest in the Pacific Census Division, where home prices experienced a 4.5 percent decline during the quarter.

The states with the lowest rate of appreciation between the fourth quarter of 2006 and 2007 were California with -6.6 percent, Nevada with -5.9 percent, Florida with -4.7 percent, Michigan with -4.3 percent, and Rhode Island with -2.6 percent.

Not good for all those option-arm borrowers.

Conversely, Utah experienced a 9.3 percent appreciation rate, followed by Wyoming with 8.3 percent, North Dakota with 7.9 percent, Montana with 6.9 percent, and Alaska with 6 percent.

The metros with the lowest appreciation rates during the same period were Merced, CA with -19 percent, Modesto, CA with -15.5 percent, and Stockton, CA with -15.3 percent.

See the full 88-page report here.

Meanwhile, home prices were 8.9 percent lower in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier, according to the quarterly S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index released today, the largest decline ever recorded.

(photo: rsgranne)

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