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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA Home Price Increase Eases
by Tom Moeller  May 26, 2015

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increased 0.3% during March (5.2% y/y) following a 0.6% February rise, revised from 0.7%. The three-month gain in prices declined to 5.0%, below the 8.3% rate of growth three months earlier.

Prices were strongest during March in the East South Central region where a 0.9% rise (4.7% y/y) recovered declines in two of the prior three months. In the Middle Atlantic region, prices gained 0.8% (3.5% y/y) but they've risen at a subdued 1.6% rate during the last three months. A 0.8% increase in the East North Central Region produced a 5.1% y/y gain, down from a 10.6% rate of growth at the beginning of 2013.

Moderate price increases were logged in the Mountain region where a 0.5% rise (7.2% y/y), nevertheless, produced a strong 10.0% gain during the last three months. In the Pacific region a 0.2% rise (6.8% y/y) generated a 4.0% rate of gain in the last three months. Home prices also improved 0.2% (5.8% y/y) in the South Atlantic region but they're up at a 7.2% rate this year.

Home prices were softer in the West North Central where a 0.1% uptick (3.2% y/y) left them up at 2.7% rate so far this year. In New England, a 0.5% decline in prices (+2.7% y/y) nevertheless left them up at a 6.0% rate in the last three months. In the West South Central region, prices fell 0.3% (+4.9% y/y) and they're up at a modest 2.4% rate this year.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted repeat sales index. It measures average price changes in repeat sales. An associated quarterly index also includes refinancings on the same properties. The indexes are 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 2014 2013 2012
Total 0.3 0.6 0.3 5.2 5.6 7.6 3.3
  Mountain 0.5 1.1 0.8 7.2 7.6 12.5 7.9
  Pacific 0.2 0.7 0.1 6.8 9.6 16.2 4.9
  South Atlantic 0.2 1.7 -0.2 5.8 5.9 8.2 3.9
  East North Central 0.8 0.7 -0.3 5.1 4.8 5.4 2.1
  West South Central -0.3 -0.5 1.4 4.9 5.9 6.2 4.3
  East South Central 0.9 -1.1 1.9 4.7 3.6 4.4 2.3
  Middle Atlantic 0.8 0.2 -0.6 3.5 2.4 2.8 -0.1
  West North Central 0.1 0.6 -0.1 3.2 4.2 4.9 3.2
  New England -0.5 1.4 0.6 2.7 3.1 4.0 -0.2

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, 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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