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Housing prices continued to move higher in February.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reports its House Price Index (HPI) posted a gain of 0.4% for the second straight month after the January gain was revised down to 0.4% from 0.5%

The monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

From February 2015 to February 2016, house prices were up 5.6%. The index levels since October 2015 have exceeded the prior peak level reached in March 2007.

Regional breakdown

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from January to February ranged from -0.7% in the South Atlantic division to +1.7% in the Middle Atlantic division. The year-over-year changes were all positive, ranging from +2.5% in the New England division to +8.4% in the Pacific division.

The complete report is available on the FHFA website.

Photo (c) Marzky Ragsac Jr. - Fotolia

Jobless claims

The number of filings for first-time state unemployment benefits continued its downward spiral last week.

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), initial jobless claims were down by 6,000 in the week ending April 16, to a seasonally adjusted total of 247,000 -- the lowest level since November 24, 1973. It also marks 59 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak in 43 years.

The four-week moving average, which lacks the volatility of the weekly claims report and is considered a more accurate gauge of the labor market, was 260,500 -- down 4,500 from the previous week.

The full report may be found on the DOL website.

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