House prices jumped by 11.7% in 2004, compared with 8.0% the previous year, despite a drop in appreciation in the fourth quarter that affected all areas of the country, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.The increase in housing prices fell to 1.69% in the fourth quarter from 4.79% in the third quarter, which trimmed a few percentage points off the final 2004 annual rate of 11.7%. "This report reflects a slowing of the tremendous house price appreciation we've seen recently, but it is still growing at a strong pace," said OFHEO Director Armando Falcon Jr. In 2003, OFHEO's Housing Price Index surged by 3.7% in the fourth quarter and pushed the annual rate of housing price appreciation to 8.0%, which seemed dramatic at the time. The OFHEO report also shows that house prices declined in 31 metropolitan statistical areas, mostly in the South Atlantic and East North Central states. In the third quarter, price declines occurred in only five MSAs. The OFHEO HPI tracks housing prices on repeat sales and refinancing of loans that are purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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