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Raleigh and Durham home prices rose against tide in 2008

The Triangle's housing market continues to be among the best in the country in terms of prices, according to a new batch of federal data.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency says home prices in the Raleigh-Cary area increased by 2.96 percent in 2008. That ranks the Raleigh metropolitan area 18th best in the country. The Durham-Chapel Hill area also fared well, placing 28th with home-price growth of 2.15 percent for the 12 months ending Dec. 31.

Nationally, FHFA says, home prices fell by 4.5 percent in 2008.

FHFA is the regulator of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency’s data exclude home loans that cannot be bought or securitized by Fannie and Freddie; that leaves out both homes with large “jumbo” mortgages and most homes with subprime loans. Thus, the data tend to overstate overall housing prices in an area.

But the agency’s data do make for useful comparisons among metropolitan markets, and they underscore a key fact about the Triangle's housing market: Even as transactions have dropped, prices have remained much stronger than in most areas of the country.

“Price declines continued in the fourth quarter although not as rapidly as some had expected,” FHFA Director James B. Lockhart said in a written statement. “We are hopeful the housing initiatives announced last week by President Obama will begin to provide much-needed stability to the housing markets.”

Obama’s $75 billion housing plan is meant to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Triangle Business Journal, February 24, 2009.

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