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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Rose Modestly in May
by Sandy Batten  July 21, 2016

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) index of U.S. house prices rose a modest 0.2% m/m (5.6% y/y) in May following an upwardly revised 0.3% m/m (5.9% y/y) increase in April. Though the y/y change in nationwide house prices has been fluctuating in a relatively narrow range over the past year, this is the softest y/y reading since August 2015, and the softest monthly increase since January 2015.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted house prices fell in four regions from April to May and rose in the other five regions. The monthly changes ranged from a 1.3% m/m decline in the New England region to a 1.2% m/m increase in the Mountain region.

For the past 12 months, all regions posted increases in house prices, led by an 8.5% y/y increase in the Mountain region. The smallest price rise over the past year was the 3.4% y/y gain in the Middle Atlantic region.

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 %) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total 0.2 0.3 0.8 5.6 5.7 5.6 7.5
  New England -1.3 2.0 -0.1 3.9 3.5 3.2 3.9
  Middle Atlantic 0.9 -0.5 -0.1 3.4 2.7 2.4 2.8
  East North Central -0.2 0.0 0.7 4.1 4.6 4.7 5.4
  West North Central -0.2 0.8 0.4 4.9 4.4 4.1 4.9
  South Atlantic 0.1 0.4 0.9 6.3 6.5 6.0 8.1
  East South Central 0.4 0.3 0.3 4.4 4.9 3.6 4.2
  West South Central 0.8 -0.1 1.1 5.7 6.6 5.8 6.2
  Mountain 1.2 -0.1 2.3 8.5 8.0 7.5 12.3
  Pacific -0.1 0.6 0.9 7.9 7.9 9.6 16.1

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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