Home prices increased at an annualized rate of 4.8% nationwide in the third quarter, down slightly from a revised rate of 4.9% in the second quarter, according to the Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index released by Freddie Mac.The index showed that the Pacific states recorded the largest gains in home prices in the third quarter, rising at an annualized rate of 7.2%. The New England states followed with a 7.0% annualized growth rate, and the Middle Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania finished third with a 6.4% growth rate. "Even with the rapid rise in mortgage rates that occurred in July, demand for home purchases stayed strong," said Any Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac's deputy chief economist. "However, continued job losses, particularly in the Midwest and Southern manufacturing states, stalled home price growth in those areas, causing the national average quarterly growth rate to come in below expectations for the quarter." The index was jointly developed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and, unlike the OFHEO House Price Index (see item below), it is based on observations of actual sales prices or appraised values of the same homes over time, Freddie Mac said. Freddie Mac can be found online at http://www.freddiemac.com.

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