US Home Prices Down 16.5% From Peak

In what has become an unrelenting story, American home prices continue to decline. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, January home prices were off 0.3 percent from December and 16.5 percent from the April 2007 peak.

The monthly figures should be seen as not especially meaningful as they can be impacted by factors as the weather, the length of the month and the number of federal holidays. The longer-term results dating back to 2007 give a more accurate presentation of national trends.

National trends, however, are themselves suspect — as are regional trends. The reason is that real estate is an intensely local commodity so what goes on regionally or nationally may not reflect local market patterns.

The December results by region look like this:

Pacific: +0.4 percent — Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California

Mountain: -1.3 percent — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New

West North Central: -0.2 percent — North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri

West South Central:+1.6 percent — Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana

East North Central -0.8 percent — Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio

East South Central: +0.4percent — Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama

New England: -0.2 percent — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut

Middle Atlantic: -0.6percent — New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

South Atlantic: -1.3 percent — Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida

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