The Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index rose 0.2% in June, below the low-end forecast for 0.3% but still a respectable gain.
Annualized price growth was 5.6%, while prices in the second quarter rose 5.4% compared to the second quarter of 2014.
Sales rates are tracking at roughly double the pace of price growth, a mismatch that points ahead to price acceleration given how thin inventories are right now in the housing sector.
The FHFA’s index is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
This report has been showing slightly more strength than S&P/Case-Shiller indices, where year-on-year price appreciation is at 5% by the FHFA’s reckoning.
The Case-Shiller 10-City Composite posted a gain of 0.9% month-over-month. The National index posted a gain of 0.1% while the 10-City and 20-City Composites were both down 0.1% month-over-month. All 20 cities reported increases in June before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, nine were down, nine were up, and two were unchanged. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a slightly higher year-over-year gain with a 4.5% annual increase in June 2015 versus a 4.4% increase in May 2015.
“Today’s housing data releases of New Home Sales and Case-Shiller & FHFA Home Price indices remind us that while the stock market can fluctuate wildly, real estate is slow and steady and has returned to very healthy conditions,” said realtor.com Chief Economist, Jonathan Smoke. “The main holdback to increased sales remains supply, but that’s precisely why home prices are rising consistently at above normal rates.
“The median new home price, $285,900 in July, increased for the first time since February, which is a hint that part of the lack of growth is a result of builders not fully offering more options at affordable price points. For the new home market to completely recover to normal levels, the entry level buyer must be embraced,” Smoke said.
The regional breakdown for FHFA looks healthier than the headline with seven of nine regions showing monthly gains led by a 2.5% monthly surge in New England.
“Both home price indices from Case-Shiller and FHFA are reaching a flattening point of appreciation on a monthly basis, while annual growth remains constant at about 5%,” said Trulia Chief Economist Selma Hepp. “Recently, these two sales price measures have been moving in tandem and in a narrow range of around 4-5% — suggesting that prices across more markets and price ranges are growing at about the same pace. Nevertheless, while the indices may be flattening out nationally, prices in some markets continue to surge past the previous housing bubble peak, particularly Denver and Dallas– reflecting the impact of jobs and demographics, the continued story we have been seeing for the past year.
“The slowdown in price growth is important going forward as we enter the slower home-buying season,” Hepp said. “Affordability pressures are already weighing down some markets, especially in California where job growth and a lack of supply has been pushing prices higher.”
Meanwhile, Hepp said, some prospective buyers have been concerned about rising interest rates, which has tested their confidence in deciding whether to buy now or later.
“However, in light of yesterday’s housing market crash, we will continue to see lower mortgage rates as a result of more money going into the U.S. treasuries,” she said.
Looking at it taking into account other costs, the seasonally adjusted, purchase-only FHFA HPI rose 5.4% from the second quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2015, while prices of other goods and services fell 1.4%. The inflation-adjusted price of homes thus rose approximately 6.9% over the latest year.
Here are some other findings:
Home prices rose in every state between the second quarter of 2014 and the second quarter of 2015. The top five areas in annual appreciation: 1) Colorado – 10.6%, 2) Nevada – 10.5%, 3) Florida – 9.7%, 4) Hawaii – 9.5%, and 5) Washington – 8.8%.
Among the 100 most-populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., four-quarter price increases were greatest in San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA (MSAD), where prices increased by 18.3%. Prices were weakest in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ, where they fell -1.1%.
- Of the nine census divisions, the South Atlantic division experienced the strongest increase in the second quarter, posting a 1.7% quarterly increase and a 6.1% increase since last year. House price appreciation was weakest in the Middle Atlantic division, where prices were flat in the second quarter.