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Economy in Brief

U.S. FHFA House Price Index Regains Strength
by Tom Moeller  April 25, 2017

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) index of U.S. house prices increased 0.8% during February (6.5% y/y) following a 0.2% January rise, revised from no change. It was the strongest increase since March of last year. During the last three months, however, the 5.5% annualized rate of increase remained down versus the 8.0% pace as of September.

The performance of home prices varied greatly around the country. On the strong side were prices in the East South Central region which rose 1.8% and 9.9% over the last three months. In New England, prices jumped 1.7% and a strong 9.4% since November. In the Mountain states, home prices surged 1.3% with three-month growth also a strong 9.1% (AR). Prices in the West South Central region also gained 1.3% (6.0% y/y) and an improved 5.3% over the last three months.

Prices increased 1.1% in the Middle Atlantic region and rose a reduced 2.7% over three months, down from 7.0% growth as of November. A more modest 0.7% rate of increase was logged in the East North Central region with prices up 6.6% over three months.

In the West North Central region, a 0.4% gain was registered, but three-month growth weakened to just 3.1%, half the gain as of January. Prices in the South Atlantic region eased 0.1%, up 3.6% over three months versus 9.4% growth early last year.

The FHFA house price index is a weighted repeat sales index, measuring 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 %) Feb Jan Dec Feb Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total 0.8 0.2 0.4 6.5 6.2 5.6 5.4
  Mountain 1.3 0.6 0.3 9.6 8.0 7.9 7.2
  Pacific 0.5 0.7 0.1 7.7 8.1 8.0 9.4
  East South Central 1.8 -1.1 1.7 6.8 5.3 4.8 3.5
  New England 1.7 0.4 0.2 6.6 4.0 3.6 3.1
  South Atlantic -0.1 0.1 0.8 6.4 7.2 6.5 5.8
  West South Central 1.3 0.4 -0.4 6.0 6.1 6.4 5.6
  East North Central 0.7 -0.0 0.9 5.6 5.4 4.6 4.5
  West North Central 0.4 0.1 0.2 5.0 5.7 4.3 4.1
  Middle Atlantic 1.1 0.3 -0.8 4.7 3.5 2.7 2.2


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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