Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. home prices fell 1.8 percent in November from a year earlier, as foreclosures held back a recovery in property values.
The decline was led by a 4.2 percent decrease in the region that includes California and Hawaii, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said today in a report from Washington. The second- largest drop was 3.7 percent in the area that includes New York and New Jersey.
Foreclosures, which sell at a discount, have depressed prices even as housing demand shows signs of stabilizing. Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in December for a third month, reaching the highest level since January 2011, the National Association of Realtors said last week. Distressed properties -- comprising foreclosures and short sales, where the price is less than the mortgage balance -- accounted for almost a third of all purchases.
Home prices in November rose 1 percent from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the FHFA. Economists projected no change, according to the average of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
The FHFA’s U.S. House Price Index is 19 percent below its April 2007 peak and about the same as the February 2004 level, according to the report.
The FHFA report measures changes in real estate values using purchases of properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It doesn’t provide a specific price for homes.
As measured by the National Association of Realtors, the median home price was $164,000 in November. In December, it climbed to $164,500, the trade group said.
--Editors: Christine Maurus, Daniel Taub
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