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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Prices Post Solid Increase in November
by Sandy Batten  January 23, 2019

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Price Index for house purchases rose a solid 0.4% m/m (5.8% y/y) in November following an upwardly revised 0.4% m/m increase in October (previously reported as +0.3% m/m). The 5.8% y/y rate of advance is the slowest since May 2016. Though prices increases have strengthened a bit recently, house price appreciation has eased noticeably over this year. In the most recent six months, the national index has increased at a 4.8% annual rate, down from the recent high of 8.6% at an annual rate in the six months ending in February 2018 but up from 4.3% posted in the six months ending in August 2018.

The moderation in prices in the national index over 2018 has generally been echoed across the nine major census regions. The most pronounced decelerations have been in the Pacific, Middle Atlantic, and West South Central regions. In November, prices in the Pacific regions fell 0.8% m/m (+4.8% y/y) while prices in the Middle Atlantic region recovered, jumping 1.0% m/m (4.8% y/y).

Joining the monthly decline in the Pacific region, prices in the East North Central and West North Central regions also fell in November, -0.2%m/m (+5.7% y/y) and -0.1% m/m (+5.6% y/y), respectively.

In contrast, prices jumped up 1.1% m/m (6.7% y/y) in the South Atlantic region and rose 1.0% m/m (4.5% y/y) in the West South Central region.

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 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 %)
Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total 0.4 0.4 0.3 5.8 6.7 6.1 5.4
  New England 0.2 1.0 0.3 5.3 5.9 4.1 3.3
  Middle Atlantic 1.0 0.0 0.4 4.8 4.9 3.7 2.6
  East North Central -0.2 0.6 0.7 5.7 6.1 5.4 4.3
  West North Central -0.1 1.1 -0.1 5.6 5.4 5.6 4.0
  South Atlantic 1.1 -0.3 0.4 6.7 7.0 7.0 6.2
  East South Central 0.9 0.8 0.3 7.3 5.9 5.1 4.6
  West South Central 1.0 0.1 0.3 4.5 6.5 5.8 6.2
  Mountain 0.2 0.2 1.1 7.4 8.8 7.9 7.6
  Pacific -0.8 1.2 -0.7 4.8 8.7 8.0 7.7


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, Georgia and Florida.
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: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington.

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