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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) -- 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


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



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.

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>> Home Price Increases Ease in August

>> Existing-Home Sales Rise 10%

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