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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA Home Price Index Improves; Trend Growth Slips
by Tom Moeller  May 27, 2014

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) increased 0.7% during March, the strongest gain in three months. The year-to-year growth rate eased, however, to 6.4% from an 8.5% peak in July of last year. During the last twelve months, prices rose by double-digits in the Pacific region and were strong in the Mountain region. Prices remained down, however, by double digits since the pre-recession peaks. Elsewhere in the country, home prices have shown lesser increases y/y.

On a one-month basis, March home prices surged 4.6% (4.8% y/y) in the New England region of the country. Prices were then strongest in the West North Central (5.3% y/y), East North Central (5.2% y/y) and Middle Atlantic (2.0% y/y) regions. Home prices declined, however, in the East South Central (3.1% y/y) region.

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 %) Mar Feb Jan Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.7 0.6 0.4 6.4 7.7 3.4 -4.0
  Pacific 0.4 1.4 0.8 12.4 16.6 4.9 -6.8
  Mountain 0.2 1.1 0.7 9.8 12.8 8.1 -6.6
  South Atlantic 0.3 1.2 -0.2 6.5 8.2 4.0 -5.1
  West South Central 0.7 0.9 -0.2 6.4 6.2 4.3 -1.1
  West North Central 1.2 0.2 1.0 5.3 5.1 3.4 -3.2
  East North Central 0.9 0.7 -0.2 5.2 5.5 2.2 -3.6
  East South Central -0.4 0.7 0.5 3.1 4.5 2.5 -2.6
  Middle Atlantic 0.8 -1.0 1.6 2.0 2.9 0.0 -3.1
  New England 4.6 -2.3 1.2 4.8 3.9 -0.1 -2.2

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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