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FHFA: House Prices Up 5.7% From 2019

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) Home Price Index (HPI) found home prices rose 0.7% in February and increased 5.7% year-over-year. 

January’s reported increase of 0.3% was revised to 0.5%. The national growth of 5.7% outpaces the growth of 5.3% in 2018-2019. 

“U.S. house prices posted a strong increase in February,” according to Dr. Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics at FHFA. “The growth in home prices coincides with other data showing robust housing market activity in early 2020 preceding the current crisis. House prices had positive monthly gains in every census division. Transactions still do not reflect much, if any, influence from the COVID-19 outbreak as of February.”

All nine of the census divisions were positive in home-price growth, ranging from 0.3% to the West South Central division and 1.2% to the Middle Atlantic Division. The Mountain Division reported an 8.1% annual increase in home prices. 

Also reporting an increase were mortgage rates, as Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey found the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.33% for the week ending on April 23. This is a slight increase from the prior weeks’ 3.1%. 

“Mortgage rates have stabilized over the last few weeks as the market searches for direction in the fog of economic data,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While financial markets initially rallied on the news of Federal Reserve support and are improving due to the Senate’s passage of a new small business stimulus, we continue to see a deep economic contraction amidst uncertainty about the recovery formation.”

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.86%, which is also up from the 2.8% percent average a week ago. 

Mortgage applications fell slightly by 0.3% from the prior week for the week ending on April 17, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).  

The report found that the Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume fell 0.3% from the prior week. The refinance index fell 1% from the previous week. 

The purchase index rose 3% from the week earlier but fell 31% year-over-year. 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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