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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA Home Price Index Increase Remains Firm
by Tom Moeller  March 24, 2015

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increased 0.3% in January (5.1% y/y) following a 0.7% December rise, which was revised slightly from 0.8% reported initially. The three-month gain in prices remained firm at 7.3%, up from 3.2% in June.

Prices were strongest in the East South Central region where a 2.3% rise left them rising at a 14.1% rate during the last three months. In the Pacific region, a 0.3% increase generated three-month annualized growth of 11.8%. The West South Central states also were strong, realizing a 1.4% monthly gain which lifted prices at a 12.2% rate over the last three months. The Mountain states posted a 0.7% monthly rise, a 13.5% rate of increase since October.

Home prices were softer in the South Atlantic region where they fell 0.4% and rose at a moderate 4.1% rate in the last three months. Prices in the Middle Atlantic region also fell 0.4% in January and have been rising at a modest 2.8% rate during the last three months. In the East North Central region, prices fell 0.2% leaving three-month growth of 4.6%. Prices in the West North Central region increased 0.3% and at a 3.8% rate during the last three months.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted repeat sales index. It measures average price changes in repeat sales. An associated quarterly index also includes refinancings on the same 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 is available in Haver's USECON database.

FHFA U.S. House Price Index Purchase Only (SA %) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 0.3 0.7 0.7 5.1 5.6 7.6 3.3
  Pacific 0.3 1.5 1.0 8.2 9.7 16.3 4.9
  West South Central 1.4 0.6 0.9 7.2 5.8 6.2 4.3
  Mountain 0.7 1.4 1.1 6.5 7.6 12.5 7.9
  East South Central 2.3 -0.5 1.5 5.7 8.7 4.4 2.4
  East North Central -0.2 1.5 -0.2 4.8 4.8 5.5 2.1
  South Atlantic -0.4 0.1 1.3 4.1 5.9 8.2 3.9
  West North Central 0.3 0.3 0.3 3.3 4.2 4.9 3.2
  New England 0.5 0.3 -0.5 2.9 3.2 4.0 -0.2
  Middle Atlantic -0.4 0.5 0.7 1.7 2.3 2.9 -0.1

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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