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U.S. House Prices Rise 1.4 Percent in Fourth Quarter

FHFA House Price Index Shows Increases for Fourteen Consecutive Quarters


​​​Washington, D.C. – U.S. house prices rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI).  This is the fourteenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index.  FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.8 percent from November.

House prices rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014.  The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  

“Contrary to prior indications of a possible slowdown, home price appreciation in the fourth quarter was relatively strong,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis.  “The key drivers of appreciation over the last few years—low inventories of homes available for sa​le and improvement in labor markets—likely played a role in driving up prices during the quarter.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric that adds transaction information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 1.3 percent over the prior quarter.  Over the last year, that index is up 6.0 percent.  For individual states, price changes reflected in the expanded-data measure and the traditional purchase-only HPI are compared on pages 17-19 of this report.

The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014 while prices of other goods and services rose only 0.4 percent.  The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 4.5 percent over the latest year.

Significant Findings:

  • ​​Between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the fourth quarter of 2014, the seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia.  The top five areas in annual appreciation: 1) District of Columbia: 12.5 percent; 2) Nevada:  9.0 percent; 3) North Dakota: 8.4 percent; 4) Colorado: 7.9 percent; and 5) Michigan: 7.8 percent.
  • ​As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., fourth quarter price increases were greatest in the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA area, where prices increased by 6.0 percent.  Prices were weakest in the El Paso, TX MSA, where they fell 6.6 percent.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the fourth quarter, posting a 1.8 percent quarterly increase and a 5.5 percent increase since last year.  House price appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices fell .03 percent. 
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted, purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for 23 of the last 24 months (November 2013 showed a decrease).


FHFA’s “distress-free” house price indexes, which are published for 12 large metropolitan areas (page 33), have shown lower quarterly appreciation in the last several quarters than FHFA’s traditional purchase-only indexes.  In more than half of the areas covered, the new series—which removes short sales and sales of bank-owned properties—shows lower quarterly appreciation than the purchase-only series in the fourth quarter.  

The complete list of state appreciation rates is on pages 13-14.  The list of metropolitan area appreciation rates computed in a purchase-only series is on pages 30-33.  Appreciation rates for the all-transactions metropolitan area indexes are on pages 34-49.

Publication of New Indexes

With this quarter’s release, FHFA is publishing a set of experimental house price indexes for three-digit ZIP codes across the country. Three-digit ZIP codes, which include properties having the same first three digits in their standard five-digit ZIP codes, are sometimes used to identify the location of properties in large mortgage datasets.  The new indexes may be valuable to analysts who work with such data because it provides information about regional home price movements. Details about the new measures are provided in a “Technical Note” in this report on page 20. 


FHFA’s purchase-only and all-transactions HPI track average house price changes in either repeat sales or refinancings on the same single-family properties.  The purchase-only index is based on more than 7 million repeat sales transactions, while the all-transactions index includes more than 51 million repeat transactions.  Both indexes are based on data obtained from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for mortgages originated over the past 39 years.


  • The next monthly index (including data through January 2015) will be released March 24, 2015.

  • The next quarterly HPI report, which will include data for the first quarter of 2015, will be released May 26, 2015.  

  • Future HPI release dates for 2015 are available on the House Price Index page. 

  • Follow @FHFA on Twitter for more HPI news.​



​The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $5.6 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions.


​Stefanie​ Johnson (202) 649-3030 / Corinne Russell (202) 649-303​​2​

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