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FHFA House Price Index Shows 1.4 Percent Increase

U.S. home prices rose for the 14th consecutive quarter by 1.4 percent, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index released Thursday. The price increase was seen in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Home prices rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter in 2013 and the adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.8 percent from November.

"Contrary to prior indications of a possible slowdown, home price appreciation in the fourth quarter was relatively strong," said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis.  "The key drivers of appreciation over the last few years—low inventories of homes available for sa​le and improvement in labor markets—likely played a role in driving up prices during the quarter."

The HPI is calculated by using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

FHFA’s expanded HPI is up 1.3 percent prior to last quarter. That index is up 6 percent from last year. The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014.

The seasonally adjusted, purchase HPI rose in 48 states and Washington D.C. The top five areas in annual appreciation were: Washington D.C., 12.5 percent; Nevada, 9 percent; North Dakota, 8.4 percent; Colorado 7.9 percent; Michigan, 7.8 percent.

Fourth quarter increases for the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S. was greatest in San Francisco-Redwood City in  the South San Francisco, California area, where prices increased by 6.0 percent. Prices were weakest in El Paso, Texas falling 6.6 percent.

Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest growth with 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 was the month which showed a decrease in 2013.

About Author: Samantha Guzman

Samantha Guzman is an award-winning visual journalist and graduate of the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism. She specializes in visual storytelling and has skills in video, audio and photography, in addition to news writing. She has traveled to Mexico and Bosnia as an assistant for multiple multimedia projects and taught news writing, photojournalism, and narrative storytelling in the past.
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