Mortgage Daily

Published On: February 28, 2017

Multiple home price indices continue to ascend. Leading the gains are coastal locations, though the Mountain Region is faring well.

Between November and the final month of last year, estimated prices on U.S. residential properties moved up by 0.4 percent.

Prices in the East South Central climbed 2.1 percent — the biggest month-over-month increase of any census division in the country.

The increase was 0.9 percent in the East North Central, 0.7 percent in the South Atlantic and 0.4 percent in the Mountain division.

The findings were based on the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s purchase-only HPI. The data were derived from home sales prices information on mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

FHFA reported that U.S. home prices rose 6.2 percent from the end of 2015.

The biggest year-over-year gain was in the Mountain division: 8.4 percent. Prices in the Pacific and South Atlantic were up 7.1 percent, while the East South Central division rose 6.7 percent.

“Although interest rates rose sharply during the fourth quarter, our data show no signs of a home price slowdown,” FHFA Deputy Chief Economist Andrew Leventis said in the report. “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.”

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Composite-20 Index was 192.61 in December. That was an 0.3 percent increase from a month earlier and a 5.6 percent gain from a year earlier.

The index stands 44 percent above the March 2012 low in home prices but is still 7 percent short of the July 2006 peak.

Compared to November, the index was up in Tampa, Florida, by 1.1 percent — the most of any of the 20 metropolitan areas included in the index. An 0.6 percent gain was recorded for both Boston and Seattle, while an 0.5 percent increase was reported for Chicago and the District of Columbia.

On a year-over-year basis, home prices were up 10.8 percent in Seattle. Next was 10.0 percent in Portland, Oregon; then
8.9 percent in Denver; 8.4 percent in Tampa; and 8.1 percent in Dallas.

David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted in the report that the national average rose faster than at any time in the last two-and-a-half years.

“One factor behind rising home prices is low inventory,” Blitzer stated. “While sales of existing single-family homes passed five million units at annual rates in January, the highest since 2007, the inventory of homes for sales remains quite low with a 3.6 month supply.”

In Black Knight Financial Services’ HPI report, the average U.S. home price was $267,000 in the final month of last year. That was just 0.1 percent higher than in November but 5.7 percent up from December 2015.

Black Knight reported that home prices in New York were up 1.2 percent on a month-over-month basis — the biggest gain of any state. Washington was next at 0.5 percent, then 0.4 percent in New Jersey, Kansas and Vermont.

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