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House prices down 0.8% in fourth quarter: FHFA

House prices down 0.8% in fourth quarter: FHFA (by Ruth Mantell)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- A gauge of house prices fell a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in the fourth quarter of 2010 from the prior quarter, according to data released Thursday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Over the past year, prices fell 3.9%. "Lingering unemployment and elevated inventories of for-sale homes contributed to the ongoing decline of house prices," said Edward DeMarco, FHFA's acting director, in a statement. In the fourth quarter, the index fell in 35 states and the District of Columbia, and rose in 15 states. The index is based on home sales price data from mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The index for December was down 0.3% from November.

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House prices down 0.8% in fourth quarter: FHFA