Seasonally-adjusted house prices rose 5.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a new update from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
U.S. house prices rose 1.4 percent from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2012.
The prices are calculated by using home-sales price data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, which represent about 60 percent of all U.S. mortgages.
FHFA’s index for December was up 0.6 percent from November.
“The fourth quarter was another strong one for house prices, as it was the third consecutive quarter where U.S. price growth exceeded one percent,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “While a significant number of homes remained in the foreclosure pipeline, the actual number of homes available for sale was very low and fell over the course of the quarter.”
While the national house price index rose 5.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, prices of other goods and services rose 1.7 percent over the same period. The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 3.7 percent over the latest year.
Other findings from the FHFA:
- The seasonally adjusted purchase-only House Price Index rose in the fourth quarter in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
- Of the nine census divisions, the Pacific division saw the strongest increase in the latest quarter, posting a 4.2 percent price increase. House prices were weakest in the East North Central division, where prices remained unchanged from the prior quarter.
- As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., fourth quarter price increases were greatest in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). That area saw prices increase by 6.8 percent between the third and fourth quarters. Prices were weakest in the Edison-New Brunswick, NJ metropolitan division, where prices fell 0.8 percent over that period.
- The monthly seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for 11 consecutive months.
- FHFA’s new “distress-free” house price index suggests that price gains in the latest quarter may be partially attributed to decreases in the share of distressed sales in the latest quarter. For 9 of the 12 metropolitan areas covered by the new set of indexes, the distress-free measures — which remove the direct effect of short sales and sales of bank-owned properties—showed more modest price gains than were evident in the traditional purchase-only indexes.