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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Increases Minimally M/M, Weakens Y/Y
by Tom Moeller  July 23, 2019

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that its House Price Index for home purchases inched 0.1% higher during May after an unrevised 0.4% April rise. It was the weakest m/m gain since January 2017 and lowered the y/y rate of increase to 5.0%, down from the 7.6% peak y/y rate gain in January 2018. Over the past six months, prices have increased at a 4.4% annual rate.

For the nine census divisions, the seasonally adjusted monthly change in house prices in May ranged from -1.0% m/m in East South Central region to 0.5% in the South Atlantic region. Prices declined in May in four regions of the country.

Increases during the last twelve months also varied significantly. Home prices rose 6.7% y/y in the Mountain region, down from a 10.3% recent peak in January 2018. Prices rose a greatly lessened 3.6% y/y in the West South Central region, half the rate of increase early in 2018.

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 %)
May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2018 2017 2016
Total 0.1 0.4 0.2 5.0 6.7 6.6 6.0
  New England 0.4 0.5 -0.5 4.4 5.5 5.8 4.1
  Middle Atlantic 0.4 -0.0 0.5 4.4 5.5 4.9 3.6
  East North Central 0.3 0.5 -0.5 5.6 6.5 6.0 5.3
  West North Central 0.1 -0.3 1.3 4.8 6.2 5.4 5.6
  South Atlantic 0.5 0.3 0.2 5.6 7.2 6.8 6.9
  East South Central -1.0 1.1 -0.5 6.6 6.3 5.8 5.0
  West South Central -0.5 0.3 0.5 3.6 5.4 6.5 5.7
  Mountain -0.3 1.2 0.7 6.7 9.2 8.6 7.8
  Pacific 0.2 0.7 0.1 4.5 7.6 8.6 8.0


New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Middle Atlantic: New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
5East 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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