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US house prices up 0.7% in August

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13:32, October 24, 2012

The US house prices continued its moderate growth in August on a seasonally adjusted basis amid record low mortgage rates, the US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported on Tuesday.

The house prices in August were 0.7 percent higher than a month earlier, according to the FHFA's monthly House Price Index.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the house prices gained 4.7 percent, signaling the housing market is steadily on the way to recovery.

However, the price variation across the country was ragged. For the nine census divisions, the Pacific division including Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California saw a 3.0-percent increase in the house prices from July to August, more than any other region, but the prices in the East South Central division including Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama fell the most by 0.5 percent.

The report measured changes in real estate values using purchases of properties with mortgages back by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It did not provide a specific price for houses. As measured by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the US median existing-home price for all housing types was 183,900 dollars in September, up 11.3 percent from a year ago.

The lowest mortgage rates on record helped boost home refinancing and purchasing, as the Federal Reserve's new bond purchase plan brought down fixed mortgage rates back to near all-time lows.

While housing had improved during the past 12 months, activity remained well below historical standards and continued to show signs of only modest growth through the rest of 2012, said US mortgage giant Fannie Mae in a recent report.

Still, the house prices in July were 15.9 percent below its April 2007 peak and roughly the same as the June 2004 level, noted the FHFA.

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