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Home prices continue to increase nationally in November but slowly

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Home prices continue to increase nationally according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) release today, going up only 0.1 percent in November.

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This was a significant decrease from previous months, dropping from the 0.5 percent of October and September with the South Central division carrying the brunt of the decrease in home pricing at a -1.4 percent. The mountain, West North Central, and East North Central all maintained a 0.5 percent overall home price increase for the month. Of these the mountain division was a decrease going from 1% the previous month and only half a percent in October. The Pacific Division, that includes Washington, was flat for November.

The House Price Index (HPI) is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The index is still 8.9 percent below the April 2007 peak and roughly the same as April 2005 index levels according to the FHFA.

This release from the FHFA comes a day after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the weekly earnings of wage and salary workers for the fourth quarter of 2013. According to the report median weekly earnings of the nations 104.8 million full-time wage and salary workers were $786 in the fourth quarter. This was 1.4 percent higher than a year earlier compared with a gain of 1.2 percent in the consumer price index.

This data is collected as part of the current population survey in nationwide survey of households in which respondents are asked, among other things, how much would each wage and salary worker usually earns. The attached chart has an interesting variations showing the difference between men and women various ethnic groups and educational attainment and what it means to the amount the individual group earns.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal home loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $5.5 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions.

About the author: Fred Chamberlin was a senior loan officer with Guild Mortgage Company in Oak Harbor. He was in the mortgage origination business for over 20 years and in the lending business for over 30 and authors a number of mortgage related blogs.

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