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U.S. House Prices Rise 1.5 Percent in Third Quarter


Washington, D.C. – U.S. house prices rose 1.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI).   House prices rose 6.1 percent from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016.  FHFA's seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was up 0.6 percent from August.  The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA has produced a video of highlights for this quarter. 

"Our data indicate that the deceleration in home price growth that we observed in late spring proved to be short-lived," said FHFA Supervisory Economist Andrew Leventis.  "While price growth in select markets has cooled somewhat, for the U.S. as a whole, the third quarter showed no evidence of a widespread slowdown."

While the HPI rose 6.1 percent from the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016, prices of other goods and services were nearly unchanged.  The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 6.0 percent over the last year.

Significant Findings

  • Home prices rose in 49 states between the third quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of 2016.  Delaware and the District of Columbia were the only areas not to see price increases.  The top five states in annual appreciation were:  1) Florida 10.7 percent; 2) Oregon 10.4 percent; 3) Washington 10.4 percent; 4) Colorado 10.0 percent; and 5) Utah 9.5 percent.
  • Among the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., annual price increases were greatest in the Tacoma-Lakewood, WA (MSAD), where prices increased by 12.9 percent.  Prices were weakest in New Haven-Milford, CT, where they fell 1.7 percent.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the South Atlantic division experienced the strongest increase in the third quarter, posting a 1.8 percent quarterly increase and a 7.1 percent increase since the third quarter of last year.  House price appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices rose 0.8 percent from the last quarter. 

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

Other Price Indexes 

Most statistics in the quarterly house price index report reference price changes computed by FHFA's basic "purchase-only" HPI.  In some cases, however, the reported statistics reference alternative price measures.  FHFA publishes – and makes available for download – three additional house price indexes beyond the basic "purchase-only" series.  Although they use the same general methodology, the three alternatives rely on slightly different datasets as follows:

  • "Distress-Free" house price index.  Sales of bank-owned properties and short sales are removed from the purchase-only dataset prior to estimation of the index.
  • "Expanded-Data" house price index.  Sales price information sourced from county recorder offices and from FHA-backed mortgages are added to the purchase-only data sample.  This index is used annually to adjust the maximum conforming loan limits, which dictate the dollar amount of loans that can be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • "All-Transactions" house price index.  Appraisal values from refinance mortgages are added to the purchase-only data sample.

Data constraints preclude the production of all types of indexes for every geographic area, but multiple index types are generally available.  For individual states, for instance, three types of indexes are available.  The various indexes tend to correlate closely over the long-term, but short-term differences can be significant. 

Release of New Experimental County Indexes

Beginning with this release, FHFA is publishing a set of experimental annual house price indexes for counties across the country from 1975-2015.  The indexes are constructed using the typical "repeat-transactions" methodology FHFA already uses.  Unlike FHFA's other price indexes, however, the county indexes are annual price measures, meaning that a single index value is produced for each year.  The county indexes complement a set of previously released five-digit ZIP code measures, and may be valuable to analysts seeking data on localized home price movements.  More information about these measures is provided in a "Technical Note" in this report on page 23.


FHFA's HPI tracks changes in average home prices by analyzing changes in home values for the individual properties.  The underlying "repeat-transactions" methodology constructs index estimates by statistically evaluating price appreciation (or depreciation) for homes with multiple values over time.  The purchase-only HPI uses sales price information from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-purchased and Enterprise-guaranteed mortgages originated over the past 41 years.  The purchase-only HPI is estimated with more than seven million repeat transactions.  A video shows the basic methodology behind the FHFA HPI.


  • The next monthly HPI report (including data through October 2016) will be released December 22, 2016 and the next quarterly HPI report (including data for the fourth quarter of 2016) will be released February 23, 2017.
  • HPI release dates for 2016 and 2017 are available at http://www.fhfa.gov/hpi.
  • Follow @FHFA on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for more HPI news.


The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $5.8 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions. Additional information is available at www.FHFA.gov, on Twitter @FHFA, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Media: Stefanie Johnson (202) 649-3030 / Corinne Russell (202) 649-3032
Consumers: Consumer Communications or (202) 649-3811

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