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The pace of home price appreciation slowed notably in
February, at least as reflected in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA’s)
House Price Index (HPI). The index,
which is calculated using home sales information from mortgages sold to or
guaranteed by the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, rose 0.3 percent from
January to February and was up 4.9 percent on an annual basis.
FHFA’s index stood out in January when it jumped 0.6
percent from its December level and had a 5.6 percent increase compared to
January 2018. Price indices for the
month released by other entities had showed considerable slowing; most had
monthly appreciation of 0.1-0.2 percent and annual changes in the 4 percent
Analysts had anticipated a retreat from the January pace.
Those polled by Econoday had forecast an
0.4 percent month-over-month increase.
Of the nine census divisions, two saw price
declines. The HPI in the Middle Atlantic
division dropped 1.2 percent and the previously hot Mountain division saw
prices fell 0.5 percent. The 12-month
changes were all positive, ranging from 3.5 percent in the West South
Central division to 6.5 percent in the Mountain division. Eight of the nine divisions posted smaller annual
price gains in February than they did in February 2018; several rates were cut
by more than half. The exception was the
East South Central Division where the annual rate increased from 6.1 percent to
The FHFA HPI was indexed to 100 in January 1991. The
current national index stands at 272.8.