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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Momentum Diminishes
by Tom Moeller  March 22, 2017

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) index of U.S. house prices remained unchanged during January following a 0.4% December increase and a 0.6% November improvement. From January 2016 to January 2017, the home price index rose a somewhat lessened 5.7%. During the last three months, however, the 4.2% annualized rate of increase was its weakest since June, and roughly half the rate of increase this past summer.

The performance of home prices varied greatly around the country. In the Mountain states home prices posted a 0.6% increase (8.3% y/y); however, three-month growth slackened to 5.4%, one-third the rate of increase last winter. Prices in the Pacific states also increased 0.6% (7.7% y/y) and three-month growth held steady at 7.3%.

In the West South Central region, home prices increased a lessened 0.2% (6.0% y/y) and a minimal 1.5% on a three-month basis. Prices in the West North Central also increased 0.2% (4.6% y/y) and at asteady 5.8% rate during the last three months.

Home prices fell 2.0% (+3.5% y/y) in the East South Central region and reversed the December rise. The East North Central region logged a 0.2% decline (+5.0% y/y) and three-month growth fell to 3.7%, half its October high.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted repeat sales index, measuring average price changes in repeat sales of the same property. An associated quarterly index also includes refinancings on the same kinds of 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 are available in Haver's USECON database.

FHFA U.S. House Price Index, Purchase Only (SA %) Jan Dec Nov Jan Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total 0.0 0.4 0.6 5.7 6.2 5.7 5.4
  Mountain 0.6 0.2 0.6 8.3 8.0 7.9 7.2
  Pacific 0.6 0.0 1.1 7.7 8.1 8.0 9.4
  South Atlantic 0.2 0.9 0.2 6.2 7.2 6.5 5.8
  West South Central 0.2 -0.3 0.5 6.0 6.1 6.4 5.6
  East North Central -0.2 0.8 0.3 5.0 5.4 4.6 4.5
  West North Central 0.2 0.1 1.1 4.6 5.6 4.3 4.1
  Middle Atlantic 0.1 -0.8 1.2 3.8 3.5 2.7 2.2
  New England -0.1 0.1 0.4 3.6 4.0 3.6 3.1
  East South Central -2.0 1.8 1.2 3.5 5.3 4.8 3.5

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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