Fannie, Freddie Purchase Index Shows Prices Up 2% in 1Q

Home prices jumped 1.3% from February to March as the spring home buying season got off to a good start, according to a house price index based on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase mortgage transactions.

The seasonally adjusted HPI published by the Federal Housing Finance Agency shows that prices are up 7.2% from March 2012.

The FHFA also reported Thursday that home prices rose 1.9% in the first quarter from the prior quarter. And prices rose in 41 states and the District of Columbia during the first quarter.

“The housing market has stabilized in many areas and homebuilding activity has strengthened in recent months,” said FHFA principal economist Andrew Leventis. “That said, labor market weakness and still-elevated foreclosure pipelines remain hindrances to a more robust recovery.”

The GSE regulator tracks home prices via nine regions and all nine posted price gains in April on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis.

The Pacific region registered the strongest price increase with a monthly of 2.3% and a 12-month of 16%.

New England posted the weakest monthly increase at 0.6% for April and the mid-Atlantic region posted the weakest 12-month increase with 1.6%. The New England and mid-Atlantic regions are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy and record snowfalls this winter.