FHFA home price index/tax credit, oh to be 4 yrs old again

The August FHFA home price index fell .3% m/o/m and is down for the first time since April and is down 3.6% y/o/y. From the record highs in April ’07 it’s down 10.7%. Hard to believe, I know. This index only measures those homes that have mortgages backed by FNM and FRE but is geographically diverse. The m/o/m decline was led by the South Atlantic region which includes the DC area, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and the New England area. The y/o/y drops continue to be mostly in the heavily foreclosed areas of the West and South. With regards to the home buying tax credit which expires next month, the IRS today said tens of thousands of people may have taken advantage of it to defraud the government. 19k people filed ’08 tax returns claiming the credit for houses they haven’t bought yet and 74k had already owned a prior home. Also, 580 taxpayers under 18 yrs old claimed the credit and one was 4 yrs old.

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