May 26, 2020

FHFA: U.S. House Prices Rise 1.7 Percent in First Quarter 2020; Up 5.7 Percent from Last Year

U.S. house prices rose in the first quarter of 2020, up 1.7 percent according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI).  House prices rose 5.7 percent from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020.  FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for March was up 0.1 percent from February.

“Home price growth in the first quarter outpaced annual growth from the same period a year ago as falling interest rates and shrinking inventories for sale led prices higher just prior to the crisis. Prices in the Mountain Division, encompassing the top four states by growth, grew by 8 percent on a year over year basis,” said Dr. Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics at FHFA. “Because of the lag between contract signing and sale closing when our data are recorded, we judge the first quarter’s housing statistics were relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak.  However, we are unable to account for any modifications or cancellations of sales later in March.”

View highlights video featuring Dr. Lynn Fisher at​.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on House Prices

The data contained within this report is unlikely to reflect the economic impact of COVID-19.  Estimated house price movements are based upon closings through March 31st, but, because of the time delay between when a contract is signed and a loan closes, purchase data from March largely reflect prices that were set in late-January and throughout February.  In other words, many March purchases reflect prices that were agreed upon before broad stay-at-home orders were issued.  Regarding transaction counts, the number of purchase-money repeat transactions in the first quarter of 2020 are comparable to the prior quarter and to the first quarter of 2019.  However, March activity might not be representative of typical home sales because of recent market changes like a higher than normal rate of sales cancellations. 

Significant Findings

FHFA produces the nation’s only public, freely available house price indexes (HPIs) that measure changes in single-family house prices based on data that cover all 50 states and over 400 American cities and extend back to the mid-1970s.  The HPIs are built from tens of millions of home sales and offer insights about house price fluctuations at the national, census division, state, metro area, county, ZIP code, and census tract levels.  The FHFA HPIs use a fully transparent methodology based upon a weighted, repeat-sales statistical technique to analyze transaction data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  FHFA releases data and reports on a quarterly and monthly basis.  The flagship FHFA HPI uses seasonally adjusted, purchase-only data, unless otherwise noted.  Additional indexes are based on other data including refinances, FHA mortgages, and real property records.  All the indexes are available on the FHFA website. 

Tables and graphs showing home price statistics for metropolitan areas, states, census divisions, and the U.S. are included on the following pages. 

Note ​

Read the full report.

This post was originally published here.