Look on the bright side: U.S home prices rose 0.3 percent from June to July, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reports. Or the darker side: In the year that ended in July, home prices fell 4.2 percent.
The House Price Index uses the purchase price for homes with mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That means it tends to exclude the most expensive properties and ones in the subprime mortgage market. The delinquency rate among subprime mortgages is now above 41 percent.
The housing market has gotten a boost recently from the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. As of Friday, 1.4 million people had used the credit to buy property. The deal runs out on Dec. 1.