House prices fell 1.6 percent in January, retreating to levels of seven years ago, before the housing boom began.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s House Price Index is February prices are 18.6 percent below its April 2007 peak and down 5.7 percent from a year ago.
The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
For the nine Census Divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from January to February ranged from -3.7 percent in the Mountain Division to -0.6 percent in the East South Central Division.
The FHFA numbers are more positive that the S&P Case-Shiller 10-City Composite index, which was down 2.0 percent for January. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite fell 3.1 percent from their January 2010 levels.
Case-Shiller found that San Diego and Washington D.C. were the only two markets to record positive year-over-year changes. However, San Diego was up a scant 0.1%, while Washington DC posted a healthier +3.6% annual growth rate. The same 11 cities that had posted recent index level lows in December 2010, posted new lows in January.
Other housing price indices, notably Altos Research and CoreLogic and found that national averages of February prices continued to fall. Altos has prices down 2 percent month to month and CoreLogic reported prices fell 6.7 percent from February 2010.