The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight released its quarterly home price appreciation report for the fourth quarter of 2006 last Thursday. Quarterly price appreciation was 1.12% compared to a revised 1.03% in 3Q06 (previously reported as 0.86%). The previous year's house price quarterly appreciation was 3.03%. The numbers translate to annual growth of 4.47% in the fourth quarter, improved from 4.11% in 3Q06, but down from 12.13% in the fourth quarter of 2005.

OFHEO's survey also reported that prices in the fourth quarter of 2006 were 5.9% higher than they were in the same the previous year. This compares to 7.9% in the third quarter and 13.25% reported for Q405. OFHEO director James Lockhart said the data "suggests that house price appreciation is, for now, more in line with historical norms."

By state, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho were the top three states in terms of appreciation between the fourth quarter 2005 and fourth quarter of 2006. Utah recorded one-year growth of 17.6%, Wyoming was 14.3% and Idaho was 14%. In the previous report, Idaho and Utah were ranked one and two, respectively, with Wyoming ranked seventh. Meanwhile, previously top-ranked states like Arizona, Florida, California and Nevada have fallen to 7th, 11th, 35th, and 40th, respectively.

According to the OFHEO, 21 of the 26 cities ranked as metropolitan areas in California recorded negative quarterly price appreciation in the fourth quarter. For the quarter, the state's price appreciation was -0.38%. Other states recording negative quarterly price appreciation were Hawaii (-0.80%), North Dakota (-0.24%), Nevada (-0.16%), and Nebraska (-0.24%).

The bottom three states recording the lowest year-over-year appreciation remained Ohio (1.05%), Massachusetts (0.45%) and Michigan (-0.44%).

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