House prices rose during October according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's monthly House Price Index (HPI.)  While the increase was only 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, it followed two months in which prices declined and was only the 7th upward blip in the last 31 months.

At the same time, the 0.0 percent estimated change in September was revised downward to a 0.4 percent decline. Since October 2008 prices have fallen 1.9 percent and they are off 10.8 percent since the peak of the housing market in April 2007.

The HPI is compiled from data collected by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac data on the houses purchased with mortgages bought or guaranteed by those government sponsored enterprises.  The index is unique in that it only includes houses where a previous sale was also financed by a GSI mortgage so price changes are for same house sales.

There was a wide variation in changes among the nine Census regions.  Prices rose in the five of the regions and were unchanged only in New England.  The Pacific region had an average price increase of 3.7 percent while the Middle Atlantic States had the worst performance with house prices falling another 1.8 percent.  Every region except the West South Central has lower prices than one year ago - in that region there has been zero change.  Prices in the Mountain region are down 7.5 percent since last October followed by the South Atlantic states with a 4.1 percent price decrease.  But everything is relative.  During the one year period prior to this one, October 2007 to October 2008 prices in those in regions were down 8.0 and 9.9 percent respectively.  The Pacific region, showed the most improvement.   Its prices declined 0.3 percent in the past year compared to a -21.7 percent change in the 2007-2008 period.

The HPI for the U.S. was 199.4.  According to the report this was approximately the level of the HPI in February, 2008.