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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA Home Price Index Slows a Bit in October
by Carol Stone  December 22, 2015

The U.S. House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increased 0.5% in October, making the year-to-year gain 6.1% y/y; the October rise was moderately slower than the 0.7% monthly change in September, which was revised modestly from 0.8% reported initially. Over the last three months, the annualized rate of change was also 6.1%, the same as the 12-month pace.

From September to October, the national purchase price index was slower because of slowing or outright declines in five of the nation's broad Census regions. The declines took place in the eastern states, with New England down 0.5% (+2.9% y/y) and the Middle Atlantic states down 0.1% (+3.1% y/y). Prices in New England had been up sharply in September, 1.2%, while those in the Middle Atlantic region had a more moderate rise of 0.4% then. The regions with smaller increases in October were the East North Central states, up 0.5% (4.4% y/y) after September's 1.3%, West South Central, up 0.4% (6.9% y/y) after 0.8%, and the Pacific states, up just 0.1% (7.7% y/y) after their sizable 1.1% gain in September.

Prices firmed in three regions, most notably the East South Central states, up 1.2% (5.7% y/y) after September's 0.3%, making this the strongest regional gain in October. Prices in the South Atlantic states rose 0.9% (7.6% y/y), the second strongest October gain and up from 0.5% in September. The house price index increased 0.5% in the West North Central region (4.9% y/y) after being unchanged the month before. Prices in the Mountain states maintained their 0.7% September advance in October as well and put the year-to-year increase at 8.9%, extending that region's ranking as the strongest year-to-year.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted repeat sales index. It measures average price changes in repeat sales of the same property. An associated quarterly index also 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 %) Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Total 0.5 0.7 0.3 6.1 5.6 7.5 3.3
  New England -0.5 1.2 0.2 2.9 3.2 3.9 -0.2
  Middle Atlantic -0.1 0.4 -0.1 3.1 2.4 2.8 -0.1
  East North Central 0.5 1.3 -0.4 4.4 4.8 5.4 2.1
  West North Central 0.5 0.0 0.9 4.9 4.2 4.9 3.2
  South Atlantic 0.9 0.5 0.7 7.6 6.0 8.1 3.8
  East South Central 1.2 0.3 0.3 5.7 3.7 4.4 2.2
  West South Central 0.4 0.8 0.2 6.9 5.8 6.2 4.0
  Mountain 0.7 0.7 0.3 8.9 7.5 12.3 7.8
  Pacific 0.1 1.1 0.5 7.7 9.6 16.1 4.9

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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