U.S. house prices rose modestly in the first quarter of this year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI).
The FHFA HPI – which is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages – was up 0.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis since the fourth quarter of 2011. Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 0.5% from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of this year. FHFA's seasonally adjusted monthly index for March was up 1.8% from February.
The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI rose in the first quarter in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The top five annual increases were Hawaii (10.3%), Washington, D.C. (9.8%), Iowa (5.7%), Florida (4.7%) and North Dakota (4.4%).
Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest prices in the latest quarter, posting a 1.4% price increase. Prices were weakest in the New England division, where prices fell 0.7%
‘Consistent with other housing market indicators, the FHFA HPI showed stronger house prices in the first quarter, most notably in March,’ says FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. ‘Increased affordability and a somewhat smaller inventory of homes for sale are positively impacting house prices.’