House prices rose 7.71% over the 12 months ended March 31, but slowed to a 3.84% annual rate in the first quarter, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.House prices rose 0.96% in the first quarter, compared with 3.71% in the fourth quarter. "The moderation in the growth of house prices is welcome, because continued price jumps like those of the fourth quarter would raise the potential for declines later on," OFHEO chief economist Patrick Lawler said. The first-quarter number, 0.98%, is the lowest increase in prices since the second quarter of 1998, which registered a 0.81% increase.

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