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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Declines
by Tom Moeller  July 22, 2020

• Prices fall throughout the country.

• Notable declines are logged in several areas. 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index fell 0.3% (+4.9% y/y) during May following a 0.1% April rise, revised from 0.2%. During the last three months, house prices have been unchanged, down from a 9.1% rate of increase as of February.

Prices fell in several regions of the country with the largest declines logged in New England where they were off 1.0% (+3.7% y/y). That shortfall was followed by a 0.8% price drop in the Pacific region. The y/y gain eased to 4.0% from 6.5% in February.

Lesser price declines were posted throughout the country. Prices fell 0.4% (+5.8% y/y) in the East South Central area and in the East North Central region prices declined 0.3% (+5.0% y/y). Prices also weakened 0.3% in the Mountain states. Here, the 6.3% y/y gain compares to 8.6% in March. Prices declined 0.2% (+4.7% y/y) in the West South Central region, and in the West North Central region they eased slightly (+5.0% y/y).

Minimal improvement in house prices was evident in the South Atlantic region, up a lessened 4.9% y/y, and prices held steady (4.6% y/y) in the Middle Atlantic states.

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 2019 2018 2017
Total -0.3 0.1 0.1 4.9 5.3 6.5 6.4
  New England -1.0 -0.4 1.1 3.7 4.6 5.2 5.6
  Middle Atlantic 0.0 0.1 -0.1 4.6 4.5 5.3 4.7
  East North Central -0.3 0.6 0.1 5.0 5.5 6.4 5.8
  West North Central -0.0 0.6 -0.5 5.0 5.1 6.0 5.1
  South Atlantic 0.1 -0.5 0.1 4.9 5.8 7.0 6.5
  East South Central -0.4 0.5 0.1 5.8 5.8 6.1 5.6
  West South Central -0.2 0.7 0.3 4.7 4.8 5.2 6.1
  Mountain -0.3 -0.1 0.9 6.3 7.1 9.1 8.4
  Pacific -0.8 -0.1 0.0 4.0 4.7 7.4 8.4
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