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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA Home Price Index Moves Higher
by Tom Moeller  December 23, 2014

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) increased 0.6% in October (4.5% y/y) following an unrevised no-change during September. The increase left three-month growth at 4.5%, about where it's been since the Spring. Prices remained the strongest in the Pacific region, up 6.0% y/y, though recently growth eased. Home price inflation in the Mountain region eased to 5.1% y/y versus the April 2013 high of 14.2%. Downward momentum has stabilized, however, with three-month growth a positive 9.0%. In the West North Central region, the observation is the same. Prices rose 0.5% (3.8% y/y) and the three-month growth rate of 3.9% is improved from a -0.1% as of June. In the East North Central region, three-month growth picked up to 8.2%, its best in six months.

Much improvement in prices is not in evidence, however, in other sections of the country. In the Middle Atlantic Region, prices slipped 0.1% in October (+0.8% y/y) and rose just 0.8% on a three-month basis, down from 7.6% in May. In New England, prices rose 0.2% but only 2.3% y/y. The three-month decline of 1.4% was the weakest showing since the Winter. In the West South Central region, a 0.2% price decline left y/y growth at a respectable 5.6% but the 5.1% three-month change half what it was this Winter.

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 %) Oct Sep Aug Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.6 0.0 0.4 4.5 7.7 3.4 -4.0
  Pacific -0.3 0.4 0.7 6.0 16.5 4.9 -6.8
  West South Central -0.2 0.5 1.0 5.6 6.2 4.3 -1.1
  Mountain 0.7 0.0 1.5 5.1 12.7 8.1 -6.6
  East North Central 1.1 0.1 0.9 5.1 5.5 2.2 -3.6
  South Atlantic 1.5 -0.4 -0.4 4.8 8.2 4.0 -5.1
  West North Central 0.5 -0.1 0.6 3.8 5.0 3.4 -3.2
  East South Central 0.8 -0.1 1.0 3.8 4.5 2.5 -2.6
  New England 0.2 0.1 -0.6 2.3 4.0 -0.1 -2.2
  Middle Atlantic -0.1 0.1 0.3 0.8 2.9 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, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, GA & 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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