WASHINGTON (7/22/11)—Home prices nationwide increased by an average of 0.4% in May, the most recent month for which data is available, representing the second straight month of progress for previously plummeting home values. The Federal Housing Finance Agency in a release noted that home prices increased by .2% during April. Homes in the mountain region of the U.S. showed the greatest growth, increasing by 2% in May. Other regions showed more modest gains, while prices in the Mid-Atlantic and West South Central regions continued to dip. The relatively good news is tempered by FHFA statistics that show a 6.3% drop in home prices since May 2010. Nationwide, home prices have fallen by an average of 19.6% since April 2007. The FHFA uses the purchase price of homes with Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-backed mortgages to calculate its monthly index. Thirty- and 15-year mortgage rates have also increased, with Freddie Mac reporting averages of 4.52% and 3.65%, respectively, for the week ended July 21. Both of these rates increased by 0.7% when compared against the previous weekly average. Five- and one-year adjustable mortgage rates remained relatively steady, averaging 3.27% and 2.97%, respectively. Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said that the steady mortgage results were due to mixed economic reports. Nothaft also noted that single-family housing starts were up 9.4% in June, and existing home sales dropped by 0.8%. For the FHFA and Freddie Mac releases, use the resource links.