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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  February 25, 2020

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Price Index increased 0.6% during December following a 0.3% November gain, revised from 0.2% and a 0.3% increase in October. Prices rose 5.3% during all of 2019, the weakest increase since 2015. During the last three months, prices rose at a 5.0% annual rate.

A 1.0% m/m increase in home prices was logged in the South Atlantic (5.8% y/y), East North Central (5.9% y/y) and Mountain (7.4% y/y) sections of the country. In the West North Central region, prices improved 0.8% (4.9% y/y. Rising a firm 0.7% were prices in the Middle Atlantic region (4.1% y/y) and in New England (4.3% y/y).

Lesser gains were logged elsewhere in the country, except the East North Central region where prices declined 0.3% (+4.7% y/y).

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 %)
Dec Nov Oct Dec Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
Total 0.6 0.3 0.3 5.2 5.3 6.6 6.4
  New England 0.7 0.3 0.2 4.3 4.5 5.3 5.6
  Middle Atlantic 0.7 0.1 0.7 4.1 4.4 5.4 4.8
  East North Central -0.3 1.0 -0.3 4.7 5.4 6.5 5.9
  West North Central 0.8 0.0 -0.1 4.9 5.1 6.1 5.2
  South Atlantic 1.0 0.3 0.3 5.8 5.8 7.2 6.6
  East South Central 1.0 -0.4 0.7 5.9 5.8 6.1 5.6
  West South Central 0.6 0.1 0.4 4.5 4.7 5.3 6.2
  Mountain 1.0 -0.0 0.5 7.4 7.1 9.1 8.4
  Pacific 0.4 0.3 0.8 4.8 4.6 7.5 8.5
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