FHFA Index Shows Modest Home Price Increases

Another survey is reporting that U.S. home prices have managed a recent slight rebound.  The Federal Home Finance Agency’s (FHFA) is reporting that home prices nationwide as measured by its seasonally adjusted Home Price Index (HPI) increased a modest 0.6 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.  Most of the increase came in March, the last month of the quarter when the index rose 1.8 percent from February.  The HPI showed an even more modest increase from the first quarter of 2011 of 0.5 percent, however this was the first annual increase shown in a first quarter since 2007. 

 “Consistent with other housing market indicators, the FHFA HPI showed stronger house prices in the first quarter, most notably in March,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “Increased affordability and a somewhat smaller inventory of homes for sale are positively impacting house prices.”

While the annual increase in the HPI was 0.5 percent, FHFA points out that the price of other goods and services rose 3.2 percent during the same period.  Thus the inflation adjusted price of homes actually fell about 2.6 percent. 

Of the nine census divisions only the New England division had a price decrease (-0.7 percent) quarter-over quarter.  The strongest price increase, 1.4 percent, was in the Mountain division.  The District of Columbia and 30 states had quarterly increases.  On an annual basis the top five increases were in Hawaii (10.3 percent), Washington, DC (9.8 percent), Iowa (5.7 percent), Florida (4.7 percent) and North Dakota (4.4 percent.)

FHFA’s purchase-only HPI tracks average house price changes in repeat sales on the same single-family properties.  The index is based on more than 6 million repeat sales transactions from data obtained by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac covering mortgages originated over the past 37 years.

Click Here to View the FHFA Price Index Chart

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