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 https://youtu.be/KIGimQ7oM_w.
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.
- House prices have risen for 35 consecutive quarters, or since September 2011.
- House prices rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020. The top five areas in annual appreciation were: 1) Idaho 12.6 percent; 2) Montana 10.2 percent; 3) Wyoming 9.9 percent; 4) Utah 9.0 percent; and 5) Hawaii 8.8 percent. The areas showing the lowest annual appreciation were: 1) West Virginia -2.1 percent; 2) Alaska -0.1 percent; 3) North Dakota 0.4 percent; 4) Illinois 2.5 percent; and 5) Connecticut 3.0 percent.
- House prices rose in all top 100 of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. over the last four quarters. Annual price increases were greatest in Boise City, ID, where prices increased by 13.1 percent. Prices were weakest in Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI (MSAD), where they increased by 0.4 percent.
- Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest four-quarter appreciation, posting an 8.0 percent gain between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020 and a 2.5 percent increase in the first quarter of 2020. Annual house price appreciation was weakest in the West South Central division, where prices rose by 4.3 percent between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020.
- Trends in the Top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas are available through our newly-published interactive dashboard https://www.fhfa.gov/DataTools/Tools/Pages/FHFA-HPI-Top-100-Metro-Area-Rankings.aspx. The first tab displays rankings while the second tab offers charts.
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.
- The next monthly HPI report (including data through April 2020) will be released June 24, 2020 and the next quarterly HPI report (including data for the second quarter of 2020 and monthly data for June) will be released August 25, 2020.
- FHFA HPI release dates for 2020 are available at https://www.fhfa.gov/HPI.
- Follow @FHFA on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube for more HPI news.