U.S. house prices rose 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). This is the tenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index.

“Home price appreciation in the fourth quarter was considerable, but more modest than in recent periods,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “It is too early to know whether the lower quarterly growth rate represents the beginning of more normalized price appreciation patterns or a more significant slowdown.”

The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Compared with last year, house prices rose 7.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.8 percent from November.

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric that adds transaction information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 1.2 percent over the prior quarter. Over the last year, that index is up 7.8 percent. For individual states, price changes reflected in the expanded-data measure and the traditional purchase-only HPI are compared on pages 17-19 of this report.

The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose 7.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013 while prices of other goods and services rose only 0.7 percent. The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 7.0 percent over the latest year.

Significant Findings:

  • The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose in 38 states during the fourth quarter of 2013 (down from 48 states as reported during the third quarter). The top five states in annual appreciation: 1) Nevada 2) California 3) Arizona 4) Oregon 5) Florida.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the fourth quarter, posting a 2.4 percent increase and an 11.7 percent increase since last year. House prices were weakest in the New England division, where prices increased 0.1 percent from the prior quarter.
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., fourth quarter price increases were greatest in the Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) where prices increased by 7.2 percent. Prices were weakest in the Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA, where they fell 6.5 percent.
  • Fifteen of the 20 MSAs with the highest annual appreciation rates were in California.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for 22 of the last 24 months (November 2013 and January 2012 had decreases).