FHFA: Home Prices Rise 0.4%

The Federal Housing Finance Agency says home prices rose 0.4% from July to August.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Home prices rose 0.4% from July to August, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday morning.

Economists expected the index to dip 0.2% after a downwardly revised month-over-month decline of 0.7% reported for July.

For the 12 months ending in August, U.S. prices fell 2.4%, the government agency said. The U.S. index is 13.6% below its April 2007 peak.

The data compares with a report released before the opening bell that showed home price increases eased in August, according to the

S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index of home prices . The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index is a moving three-month average, so data for August was swayed by data from June and July.

>>Home Price Increases Ease in August

The major indexes were lower in early trading. The

SPDR S&P 500

(SPY) - Get Report

, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the S&P 500, traded down 0.5%, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average

(DIA) - Get Report

ETF lost 0.5% and the PowerShares QQQ Trust

(QQQQ)

fell 0.7%.

Stocks in the homebuilder sector were lower as well as market watchers waded through the latest round of earnings news and consumer confidence data. The

SPDR S&P Homebuilders

(XHB) - Get Report

, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the homebuilder sector, fell 0.4% while the

iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction

(ITB) - Get Report

ETF lost 0.9%.

In other housing data,

National Association of Realtors said Monday that existing-home sales rebounded 10% in September to a better-than-expected seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million units.

>>Existing-Home Sales Rise 10%

Despite the better-than-expected rebound, September's existing-home sales data remains the third-worst rate on record and 19.1% below year-earlier levels when first-time homebuyers were rushing to take advantage of those federal tax credits.

The report also showed that the national median existing-home price for all housing types was $171,700 in September, 2.4% below year-earlier prices and lower than $178,600 in August.

A report on new-home sales in September is due to be released on Wednesday. The consensus call is for sales of newly built homes to have risen to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 299,000,

up from 288,000 in August, according to consensus estimates listed on

Briefing.com

.

The housing market has been under tremendous pressure for some time, and demand fell further after the

springtime expiration of federal tax credits for homebuyers

that offered up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for those buying new primary residences.

>>4 Top Homebuilder Stocks: Life After the Tax Credit

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to

@miriamsmarket

.

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