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News Release

U.S. House Prices Rise 1.1 Percent in Fourth Quarter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2/26/2019

​Washington, D.C. – U.S. house prices rose 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI).  House prices rose 5.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018.  FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.3 percent from November.

The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  

“House prices rose throughout 2018 but at a slower rate than in recent years,” said Dr. William Doerner, Supervisory Economist.  “In the fourth quarter, house price appreciation hit one of the lowest levels in the past four years.”

See video of highlights​ for the fourth quarter featuring Dr. Doerner. 

Significant Findings

  • Home prices rose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018.  The top five areas in annual appreciation were: 1) Idaho 11.9 percent; 2) Nevada 11.2 percent; 3) Utah 9.8 percent; 4) Georgia 8.2 percent; and 5) Arizona 8.2 percent.  The areas showing the smallest annual appreciation were:  1) North Dakota 0.0 percent; 2) Connecticut 0.9 percent; 3) West Virginia 1.6 percent; 4) Louisiana 1.8 percent; and 5) Oklahoma 2.0 percent.
  • Home prices rose in 98 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. over the last four quarters.  Annual price increases were greatest in San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA (MSAD), where prices increased by 17.0 percent.  Prices were weakest in Urban Honolulu, HI, where they fell by 2.0 percent.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest four-quarter appreciation, posting an 8.1 percent gain between the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018 and a 1.6 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2018.  Annual house price appreciation was weakest in the West South Central division, where prices rose by 4.3 percent between the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018. 

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. 

Technical Note

This quarter’s HPI report also includes a technical note explaining changes in FHFA HPIs that resulted from a recent Office of Management and Budget bulletin announcing new metropolitan area delineations.  The text and tables can be found on pages 23-35. 

Other Price Indexes

Most statistics in the quarterly HPI 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 HPIs beyond the basic “purchase-only” series.  Although they use the same general methodology, t​he 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.  

Background

FHFA’s HPI tracks changes in home values for individual properties owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac over the past 43 years using more than eight million repeat transactions.  The “repeat-transactions” methodology constructs index estimates by statistically evaluating price appreciation (or depreciation) for homes with multiple values over time.  See this video explaining the basic methodology behind the FHFA HPI.

Note

  • The next monthly HPI report (including data through January 2019) will be released March 26, 2019 and the next quarterly HPI report (including data for the first quarter of 2019) will be released May 28, 2019.
  • Future HPI release dates for 2019 are available at https://www.fhfa.gov/hpi​
  • Follow @FHFA on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for more HPI news.​
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The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 11 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $6.2 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.

Contacts:

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

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