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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA Home Price Index Picks Up Steam
by Tom Moeller  January 22, 2015

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA) increased 0.8% in November following a 0.4% rise during October, initially reported as 0.6%. It was the largest increase since May of last year and pulled three-month growth up to 5.3%, its best since March. Prices remained the strongest in the Pacific region, up 7.5% y/y. Three-month growth has been stable, however, at 6.8%. Home price inflation in the West South Central Region also picked up steam with its 0.6% increase pulling annual growth to 6.6%. The recent three-month change here, however, eased to 4.3%, its weakest since the spring. Home prices in the South Atlantic region were stronger. Their 1.4% November rise (6.2% y/y) pulled three-month growth to 9.8%, its strongest since July 2013.

Strength also was evident in the East South Central region where a 1.8% monthly gain (6.1% y/y) resulted in three-month growth of 8.0%, its firmest since February of last year. The Mountain states also saw improvement. A 0.7% monthly increase (5.6% y/y) left three-month growth at a firm 6.5%.

Home price improvement has been less impressive in the Middle Atlantic region where the 0.8% gain (2.1% y/y) left three-month growth at the same 2.1% rate, though that was improved from no growth during the prior two months. Amongst states in the New England region there been further deterioration in prices. The 0.9% November decline (+1.6% y/y) was the third negative figure in the last four months, leaving the three-month change in prices at -3.8%.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted repeat sales index. It measures average price changes in repeat sales or refinancings on the same properties. It is 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 is available in Haver's USECON database.

FHFA U.S. House Price Index Purchase Only (SA %) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Total 0.8 0.4 0.1 5.3 7.6 3.3 -4.0
  Pacific 1.1 0.0 0.5 7.5 16.3 4.9 -6.8
  West South Central 0.6 0.0 0.4 6.6 6.2 4.3 -1.1
  South Atlantic 1.4 1.1 -0.2 6.2 8.2 3.9 -5.1
  East South Central 1.8 0.2 -0.0 6.1 4.4 2.4 -2.6
  Mountain 0.7 0.9 -0.0 5.6 12.5 7.9 -6.5
  East North Central 0.2 0.7 -0.1 4.5 5.5 2.1 -3.6
  West North Central 0.6 0.5 -0.1 4.5 4.9 3.2 -3.1
  Middle Atlantic 0.8 -0.2 -0.0 2.1 2.9 -0.1 -3.1
  New England -0.9 -0.2 0.2 1.6 4.0 -0.2 -2.3

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, GA & FL
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: Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California.

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