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


Washington, D.C. – U.S. house prices rose 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). House prices rose 6.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of 2016. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.4 percent from November.

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.

“Although interest rates rose sharply during the fourth quarter, our data show no signs of a home price slowdown,” said FHFA Deputy Chief Economist Andrew Leventis. “Although it will certainly take more time for the full effects of the elevated interest rates to be felt, there is no evidence of a normalization in the unusually low inventories of homes available for sale, which has been the primary force behind the extraordinary price gains.”

Significant Findings

  • Home prices rose in 46 states and the District of Columbia between the fourth quarter of 2015 and the fourth quarter of 2016. The top five states in annual appreciation were: 1) Oregon 11.0 percent; 2) Colorado 10.6 percent; 3) Florida 10.4 percent; 4) Washington 10.2 percent; and 5) Nevada 8.9 percent.
  • Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., annual price increases were greatest in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL, where prices increased by 13.2 percent. Prices were weakest in Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ (MSAD), where they fell 1.8 percent.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the fourth quarter, posting a 2.1 percent quarterly increase and a 8.0 percent increase since the fourth quarter of last year. House price appreciation was weakest in the Middle Atlantic division, where prices rose 0.9 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.

Expansion and Update of Experimental Annual House Price Indexes

Last year, FHFA published a set of experimental annual house price indexes for ZIP codes and counties across the country. The indexes are constructed using the typical “repeat-transactions” methodology FHFA already uses. With this release, FHFA is expanding the number of these experimental indexes. In addition to continuing coverage for ZIP codes and counties, FHFA is releasing annual indexes for the nation as a whole, states, Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs), and Census tracts. Index values are published for 1975-2016. 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 January 2017) will be released March 22, 2017 and the next quarterly HPI report (including data for the first quarter of 2016) will be released May 24, 2017.
  • HPI release dates for 2017 are available at https://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: Corinne Russell (202) 649-3032 / Stefanie Johnson (202) 649-3030
Consumers: Consumer Communications or (202) 649-3811

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