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Economy in Brief

FHFA Home Price Index Ticks Up Both M/M And Y/Y
by Tom Moeller  December 26, 2009

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) continued to show improvement last fall. The Purchase Only Index for November rose 0.7% after its 0.4% October increase. Moreover, the year-to-year change turned positive for the first time since late-2007. Since their peak in early-2007 home prices nationwide have fallen 10.3%. The FHFA uses data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and is not value-weighted.

The HPI is calculated using a repeat sales index. That means that the HPI measures changes in the price of the same property over time but does not measure changes in property types over time. So if, for example, the price of a larger, new home was not growing very rapidly, but the number of people transitioning from smaller homes to larger homes greatly increased, median house prices would go up (people buying more expensive houses) much more than the HPI. In this way, the HPI is a better measure of how any particular home is appreciating while the median house price is a better measure of what the typical home buyer is paying.

Notable monthly gains in home prices during November were logged in the Pacific, South Atlantic and Mountain regions of the country and the y/y declines moderated significantly.

FHFA U.S. House Price Index Purchase Only (%) November October September Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Total 0.7 0.4 -0.3 0.5 -5.8 1.3 6.0
  New England -0.3 0.7 0.5 0.3 -4.7 -1.7 1.1
  Middle Atlantic -0.1 1.3 -1.3 -1.6 -2.3 1.9 6.3
  East North Central 0.1 -0.9 0.9 0.1 -4.4 -1.3 1.8
  West North Central -0.0 0.4 -0.0 2.1 -2.8 1.0 3.2
  South Atlantic 2.0 -1.5 0.0 -0.1 -7.3 1.3 7.1
  East South Central -0.4 2.3 -1.6 1.5 -1.5 3.8 7.2
  West South Central 0.3 0.6 -0.3 2.5 0.6 4.7 7.2
  Mountain 0.7 0.7 -1.3 -4.9 -6.2 3.9 10.6
  Pacific 2.3 2.2 -0.8 2.9 -17.3 0.1 9.8
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