Winter of home sellers' discontent? Maryland's drop in home prices in the months of January through March was sixth-largest in the country, according to new federal figures.

But there is one ray of sunshine there for anyone who sees price drops as bad news.


The 10 percent decline -- compared with the first three months of 2008 -- wasn't as steep an annual decrease as Maryland home prices saw last fall, the Federal Housing Finance Agency says. Prices were down almost 13 percent then. That was the biggest year-over-year drop in Maryland in at least 17 years, as far back as the agency's seasonally adjusted, purchase-only index goes.

FHFA -- the agency whose predecessor was OFHEO -- tracks repeat transactions of the same single-family homes to try to avoid the apples-to-oranges comparisons that can crop up when averaging all sales over time. It's based off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, though, so it doesn't represent the entire market.

Yeah, yeah, you say, enough of the wonk-stuff. Who dropped more than Maryland?

1. Nevada, down 31 percent

2. Florida, down 22.5 percent

3. California, down 22 percent

4. Arizona, down 19.5 percent

5. D.C., down 15 percent

The rest of the country dropped less than 10 percent. Alaska, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota saw increases. (Alaska's was almost 5 percent, but the rest were tiny.)

Home prices in Nevada, Florida and California -- prime housing-bubble states -- are now below what they were five years ago. Same with economically struggling Michigan and a few other states.

Maryland? It's 22 percent above its five-year-ago mark. Fifteen other states are higher than that; the rest are lower.

The FHFA, which also tracks metros, says prices in the Baltimore area dropped about 8 percent. Again, that's the purchase-only index. Throw in refinancing, and the value drop is about 6.5 percent.