Consumers who have been waiting for the housing market to bottom out may have received a strong signal that home prices, indeed, are stabilizing. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly house price index, home prices rose 0.3% from June to July, the most recent month that information was available. Still, home prices are down 4.2% for the past year and are off 10.5% from their April 2007 peak.
The FHFA Monthly SurveyThe FHFA survey was calculated by 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 June to July ranged from -0.9 percent in the East South Central Division to + 1.6 percent in the Pacific Division. Of course, in some local markets housing prices continue to drop and are off by over fifty percent over all time highs while other markets have experienced little, if any price decrease.
The next FHFA monthly survey will reflect August housing prices and it will be released on October 22nd. Importantly, the next quarterly report will be released on November 24th which will include third quarter results as well as a break out for September 2009 figures. Each of those reports will be scrutinized by analysts who will attempt to determine if housing prices have stabilized. If they have, then that realization could be the impetus to encourage home buyers to jump into the market before housing prices begin to rise once again.
Federal Tax Credit Ending
Also of importance is the $8000 federal tax credit for first time home buyers. This temporary program, slated to end on November 30, 2009, began on January 1st and has helped thousands of people purchase their first home. Though there has been talk by Congress to extend, perhaps even expand the program, nothing concrete has been established. For new homeowners who purchased a house between April 9, 2008 and before January 1, 2009, another tax credit exists to help them too.
Source: Federal Housing Financing Agency
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