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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Strength Wanes
by Tom Moeller  May 24, 2018

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) index of U.S. house prices ticked 0.1% higher (6.7% y/y) during March after two months of 0.8% increase. February's gain was revised from 0.6% and January from 0.9%. The 6.7% y/y rate of increase was the weakest since July 2017. Over the past three months, prices have risen at a reduced 7.0% annual rate.

Around the country, monthly home price depreciation occurred during March in New England (+4.7% y/y), the West South Central (+6.0% y/y) and East South Central (+4.8% y/y) regions.

Versus last year, home prices in the Mountain (9.5% y/y) and Pacific (8.7% y/y) regions continued to exhibit the strongest rates of growth. During March, however, prices also declined in the Pacific region.

Moderated annual growth rates were exhibited in the South Atlantic (7.0% y/y) and East North Central (6.1% y/y) regions of the country.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted purchase-only index that measures 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 %)
Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total 0.1 0.8 0.8 6.7 6.8 6.2 5.5
  Mountain 0.6 0.6 0.8 9.5 8.8 8.0 7.7
  Pacific -0.3 1.3 1.2 8.7 8.8 8.1 7.8
  South Atlantic 0.1 0.4 1.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 6.3
  East North Central 0.0 0.8 1.2 6.1 6.1 5.4 4.4
  Middle Atlantic 1.2 0.3 0.6 6.1 4.9 3.7 2.6
  West South Central -0.3 1.7 -0.3 6.0 6.6 6.0 6.2
  West North Central 0.4 0.3 1.3 5.7 5.5 5.6 4.1
  East South Central -0.5 1.1 0.4 4.8 6.0 5.1 4.7
  New England -1.0 1.0 0.6 4.7 6.0 4.1 3.4


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

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