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Economy in Brief

U.S. Home Price Index from FHFA Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  February 25, 2014

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) improved by 0.8% during December and lifted prices during all of last year by 7.7%. That was the strongest rise since 2005. During the last twelve months prices rose by double-digits in the Pacific and Mountain regions of the country. Prices remained down, however, by double digits from the pre-recession peaks.

December home prices were strongest in the West South Central (7.2% y/y), East South Central (4.2% y/y) and Mountain (12.6% y/y) regions of the country. Not all regions of the country showed strength. Home prices declined during December in the Middle Atlantic (+2.1% y/y) and New England (+2.7% y/y) areas.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted repeat sales index. It measures average price changes in repeat sales or refinancings on the same properties. It is based on transactions involving conforming, conventional mortgages purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Only mortgage transactions on single family properties are included. The FHFA data is available in Haver's USECON database.

FHFA U.S. House Price Index Purchase Only (SA %) Dec Nov Oct Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.8 -0.1 0.5 7.7 7.7 3.4 -4.0
  Pacific 0.5 0.0 1.1 14.9 16.6 4.9 -6.8
  Mountain 1.3 0.5 1.1 12.6 12.8 8.1 -6.6
  South Atlantic 0.9 -0.2 0.8 8.4 8.1 4.1 -5.1
  West South Central 2.0 -0.0 0.2 7.2 6.2 4.3 -1.1
  East North Central 1.0 0.2 0.3 6.9 5.5 2.2 -3.6
  West North Central 0.1 0.2 -0.2 4.4 5.1 3.4 -3.2
  East South Central 1.6 -0.9 -0.8 4.2 4.5 2.5 -2.6
  New England -0.5 -0.7 0.4 2.7 3.9 -0.1 -2.2
  Middle Atlantic -0.6 -0.6 0.8 2.1 3.0 0.0 -3.1

New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Middle Atlantic: New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
East North Central: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
West North Central: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
South Atlantic: Delaware,Maryland,District of Columbia, Virginia,West Virginia,North Carolina,South Carolina,Georgia & FL.
East South Central: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.
West South Central: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana.
Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
Pacific: Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California.
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