The agency said home prices rose 7.1 percent on a 12-month basis in February, but remain 13.6 percent below their peak, which came in April 2007.
It has been more than a year since prices declined month to month. The last time prices fell was in January 2012, the agency said.
The agency's price index reflects prices of homes with mortgages backed by either the Federal National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., better known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Among the nine census divisions, prices rose fastest in February from January in the South Atlantic division, gaining 1.7 percent. From February 2012, prices rose fastest in the Pacific division, gaining 15.3 percent.
In February in the Middle Atlantic division, prices dropped 0.6 percent from January and rose 1.9 percent over 12 months. In both time frames, the region had the slowest price gains among the nine census divisions.