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4Q U.S. home prices rise higher than expected

Posted by Editor on February 26, 2015
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WASHINGTON – Feb. 26, 2015 – U.S. house prices rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI).
December prices
According to the HPI for December, prices rose 0.8 percent. Analysts generally predicted a smaller 0.5% increase.
The December increase follows a similar 0.8 percent increased in November.
Fourth quarter 2014
It’s the HPI’s fourteenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index. In a year-to-year comparison of housing prices, the fourth quarter saw a 4.9 percent increase.
The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since it looks at repeat sales of the same homes over time, it’s generally considered an accurate gauge of U.S. home values.
“Contrary to prior indications of a possible slowdown, home price appreciation in the fourth quarter was relatively strong,” says FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis.
“The key drivers of appreciation over the last few years – low inventories of homes available for sale and improvement in labor markets – likely played a role in driving up prices during the quarter,” Leventis says.
Other findings

  • Between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the fourth quarter of 2014, the seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division saw the strongest increase in the fourth quarter, posting a 1.8 percent quarterly increase and a 5.5 percent increase since last year. House price appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices fell .03 percent.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted, purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for 23 of the last 24 months (November 2013 had a decrease).

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

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