U.S. house prices increased 5.1% in the fourth quarter from a year ago, matching the pace of the prior quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
It was the first time in two years the FHFA’s House Price Index didn’t show a slowdown in home-price gains, said Lynn Fisher, the FHFA’s deputy director for research and statistics.
“Falling interest rates and steady job growth renewed housing demand in 2019 and may have arrested the recent deceleration in home prices that began in 2018,” Fisher said in a statement.
The FHFA index is calculated using sales price information for single-family homes using mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because of this, it excludes cash transactions and sales of high-end homes bought with jumbo loans.
Across the nine census divisions, the Mountain division saw the strongest appreciation growth, posting a 6.7% annual gain.
Appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices rose 3.9% between the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2019.
House prices rose in all 50 states and the District of Columbia during the fourth quarter, compared to a year earlier, the report said. The top five states were Idaho and Utah, where prices climbed by 12% and 8.1%, respectively. Arizona, Washington and Indiana all gained 7%, the report said.
The areas with the smallest changes in annual appreciation were Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi and Louisiana where prices climbed by 1.9%, 2%, 2.1%, 2.8% and 3%, respectively.
These are the states located in each division previously mentioned:
Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico
New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut