Utah ranked 16th in the nation for home-price appreciation in the second quarter, a steep drop from a year ago, when the state had the largest appreciation nationwide, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said that Utah housing prices rose 1.87 percent in the second quarter of 2008, compared with the same period last year. But prices fell by 0.80 percent from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter.

A year ago, the Beehive State recorded the largest appreciation nationwide between the second quarter of 2006 and the second quarter of 2007, with a 15.3 percent increase in housing prices.

The national index, which is based on seasonally-adjusted data from home sales, was down 1.71 percent in the second quarter, compared with the same period a year ago. The national average price also dropped 1.71 percent from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter.

"Tighter credit conditions and relatively high inventory levels led to some sharp price declines in the second quarter," said the agency's director, James Lockhart.

The biggest depreciation was in California, Nevada and Florida, which all registered year-over-year declines of 12 percent to nearly 16 percent. Oklahoma topped the index, with year-over-year appreciation of nearly 5 percent, while Wyoming was second at 4.36 percent, followed by South Dakota at 3.77 percent.

The agency's chief economist, Patrick Lawler, said the substantial declines in the weakest markets have driven seasonally adjusted prices down to late-2005 levels. "The most overbuilt areas of the country — including California, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida — contrast greatly with most other states, where prices are declining more moderately or even increasing," he said.

Among areas in the national index, Logan ranked 34th, with prices rising 3.76 from the second quarter of 2007. Ogden/Clearfield ranked 40th, with an increase of 3.33 percent. Salt Lake City ranked 88th, with prices up 1.96 percent. And Provo/Orem was 116th, with prices appreciating 1.18 percent.

St. George ranked 233rd, as prices decreased 5.12 percent from the second quarter of 2007 to the same period this year.


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