U.S. Home Prices Rise from First to Second Quarter

U.S. house prices rose 1.8 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2012 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). This is the largest price increase since the fourth quarter of 2005. The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 3 percent from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for June was up 0.7 percent from May.

“Although some housing markets are still facing significant challenges, house prices were quite strong in most areas in the second quarter,” says FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The strong appreciation may partially reflect fewer homes sold in distress, but declining mortgage rates and a modest supply of homes available for sale likely account for most of the price increase.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric introduced in August 2011 that adds transactions information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 2 percent throughout the latest quarter. Over the latest four quarters, the index is up 2.4 percent. 

Although the national, purchase-only house price index rose 3 percent from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012, prices of other goods and services rose 1.7 percent compared to the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 1.3 percent throughout the latest year.

Significant findings of the report include:

  • The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI rose in the second quarter in 43 states. 
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest prices in the latest quarter, posting a 4.2 percent price increase. Prices were weakest in the New England division, where prices were flat over the quarter. 
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the U.S., second-quarter price increases were greatest in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla., Metropolitan Statistical Area Division (MSAD). That area saw prices increase by 8.3 percent between the first and second quarters. Prices were weakest in New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. MSAD, where prices fell 1.5 percent over that period.