Home prices across the nation rose a modest 0.5% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index.
Sequentially, prices rose 0.6% in the quarter, and in March they grew 1.8% from February.
The agency’s seasonally adjusted HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages.
FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis attributed the slight price expansion to increased affordability and a somewhat smaller inventory of homes for sale.
The FHFA HPI rose in the first quarter in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The top five annual increases were Hawaii (10.3%), Washington, DC (9.8%), Iowa (5.7%), Florida (4.7%) and North Dakota (4.4%).
For the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., first-quarter price increases were greatest in the Houston area, which saw 2.4% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the first quarter. Prices were weakest in Atlanta where prices declined 3.3% over that period.
Click on the FHFA-provided chart below for an 11-year comparison of first-quarter annual home price changes.