The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight released its Home Price Index last Tuesday, reporting that average home prices in the U.S. for the third quarter rose 12.97% from 3Q03 - the highest increase in 25 years. For the quarter, OFHEO reported a 4.62% gain, equivalent to an 18.48% annualized rate, the largest increase recorded since the index's inception in 1975.

The OFHEO attributed the home price gains to several factors, including the decline in long-term rates, which made purchasing a house less expensive. The agency also mentioned the drop in the number of refinancings.

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