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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FHFA Introduces Expanded House Price Index

by Calculated Risk on 8/24/2011 01:20:00 PM

A common criticism of the FHFA house price index (HPI) is that the index only includes GSE properties. Today the FHFA announced (PDF) an expanded series:

To further enhance public understanding of house price changes, FHFA is introducing in this release a new set of house price indexes that make use of additional sales price information from external data sources. The new indexes, denoted as the “expanded-data” HPI, use a data sample that has been augmented with sales price information for homes with mortgages endorsed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and real property county recorder information licensed from DataQuick Information Systems. In the past, price trends sometimes have been different for homes with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac financing than for properties with alternate financing. To the extent those differences exist, the new data sources will allow the expanded-data HPI to reflect price trends for a larger set of homes.
These expanded-data indexes are quarterly for states, census divisions, and the United States. The FHFA is considering introducing MSA indexes too. Here is the Q2 expanded series data.

Using the standard FHFA HPI:
U.S. house prices were 0.6 percent lower in the second quarter than in the first quarter of 2011 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). ... While the national, purchase-only house price index fell 5.9 percent from the second quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2011, prices of other goods and services rose 4.5 percent over the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes fell approximately 10.0 percent over the last year.
The expanded FHFA national series was down 1.1 percent in Q2 (Seasonally adjusted), and down 6.1% from Q2 2010 - and down 24.2% from the peak.

For comparison, the Case-Shiller national quarterly index was off 32.7% from the peak in Q1 2011.

In 2005, most reporting focused on NAR median house prices - however median prices can be distorted by the mix of homes sold. The most followed repeat sales price index in 2005 was the OFHEO HPI (now FHFA). The Case-Shiller index gained popularity in early 2007 since it seemed to better reflect observed changes in house prices. (as an example, the first mention of the Case-Shiller index in the LA Times appears to be on June 27, 2007)

Now the most followed house price indexes are Case-Shiller and CoreLogic; both repeat sales indexes. There are several other house price indexes that I track: RadarLogic (based on a house price per square foot method), FNC Residential Price Index (a hedonic price index), Clear Capital, Altos Research and Zillow.

With the addition of the expanded quarterly HPI, I will probably mention the FHFA indexes more often in the future. Also the NAR is rumored to be considering introducing a repeat sales index. The "most followed" indexes might change again ...