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Originally published August 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 30, 2007 at 5:18 PM

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State among leaders in home appreciation nationwide in second quarter

Compared with the first quarter, U.S. home prices rose in the second quarter at the slowest pace in nearly 13 years, according to government...

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Compared with the first quarter, U.S. home prices rose in the second quarter at the slowest pace in nearly 13 years, according to government data that provides fresh evidence of the housing market's problems.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight this morning said in its quarterly report on the housing market that nationwide home prices grew 0.1 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter.

Washington state led the nation with the number of cities in the top 20 for appreciation with five. In order, there are: Wenatchee (up 23.54 percent), Longview (up 13.6 percent), Seattle/Bellevue/Everett (up 9.89 percent), Tacoma (up 9.34 percent) and Spokane (up 9.3 percent). And, the state had no cities in the bottom 20, which were located primarily in California and Florida.

Washington state ranked third, with appreciation at 9.12 percent, behind Utah at 15.28 percent and Wyoming at 12.84 percent.

The agency's index of U.S home prices grew 3.2 percent in the second quarter from year-ago levels, the smallest year-over year price growth in 10 years.

"House prices were basically flat in the second quarter despite tightening credit policies, rising foreclosure rates and weakening buyer sentiment," OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart said in a statement. "Significant price declines appear localized in areas with weak economies or where price increases were particularly dramatic since June.

OFHEO's index is calculated based solely on information from the government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Combined, Fannie and Freddie finance or guarantee about two-thirds of all U.S. home mortgages.

Other reports have come up with different readings of the housing market.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Schiller quarterly index, which tracks price trends among existing single-family homes across the nation compared with a year earlier, on Tuesday found that U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent in the second quarter, the steepest rate of decline since S&P began its nationwide housing index in 1987.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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