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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Posts Record Monthly Increase
by Sandy Batten  October 27, 2020

• FHFA home price index jumped up 1.5% m/m, a record dating back to 1991.

• Prices up 8.0% y/y, the fastest annual pace of increase since 2006.

• Significant monthly price gains across the country.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Price Index jumped up a much larger-than-expected 1.5% m/m in August following an upwardly revised 1.1% m/m rise in July (initially 1.0%). The August rise was the largest monthly increase in the series which dates back to January 1991. Over the past year, house prices have increased 8.0%, the fastest annual pace of increase since March 2006. In the last three months, prices have risen 3.7% as housing demand has rebounded, mortgage interest rates have fallen to nearly unbelievable levels and supply has been constrained.

Home prices increased in each of the nine census divisions and in most regions the pace of increase also rose. Price gains were strongest in the West South Central region, up 1.9% m/m (7.3% y/y), a record monthly increase. Gains were also strong in New England (1.8% m/m, 8.1% y/y), the Middle Atlantic (+1.8% m/m, 7.4% y/y) and the Mountain region (1.7% m/m, 9.7% y/y). The weakest monthly gain was in the East South Central region (0.9% m/m, 8.8% y/y), the only region to past less than a 1% monthly increase.

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 %)
Aug Jul Jun Aug Y/Y 2019 2018 2017
Total 1.5 1.1 1.0 8.0 5.3 6.5 6.3
  New England 1.8 1.9 1.3 8.1 4.6 5.1 5.6
  Middle Atlantic 1.8 1.3 0.4 7.4 4.5 5.3 4.7
  East North Central 1.3 1.4 0.9 7.8 5.4 6.4 5.8
  West North Central 1.4 0.7 0.7 7.2 5.1 6.0 5.1
  South Atlantic 1.4 0.9 1.0 8.6 5.7 7.0 6.5
  East South Central 0.9 1.1 1.3 8.8 5.9 6.0 5.5
  West South Central 1.9 0.7 1.2 7.3 4.7 5.2 6.0
  Mountain 1.7 1.2 1.5 9.7 7.1 9.0 8.3
  Pacific 1.5 1.1 1.4 7.9 4.7 7.3 8.4
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