Home/Mortgages/FHFA: Home Prices Decline a Modest 0.1 Percent in Fourth Quarter

February 24, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Home prices in the United States fell a modest 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter of 2011 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) quarterly (purchase-only) House Price Index (HPI).

However, using FHFA’s expanded data housing price index which includes transactions from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), home prices fell 0.8 percent from the third quarter to the fourth.

From the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011, home prices fell 2.43 percent.

Five of the nine Census Divisions posted price declines in the fourth quarter with the largest decline reported in the Middle Atlantic Division (-1.16%) followed by the East North Central Division (-0.72%), the New England Division (-0.60%), the West North Central Division (-0.21%) and the Pacific Division (-0.11%).

The Divisions that posted an increase in home prices in the fourth quarter were the West South Central Division (+1.07%), the Mountain Division (+0.62%), the East South Central Division (+0.33%) and the South Atlantic Division (+0.03%).

Year-over-year, every Division but one posted a decline in home prices with the West South Central Division reporting the only increase of 1.24 percent, while the Pacific Division posted the largest decline of 4.78 percent.

Following the Pacific Division were the Mountain Division (-3.59%), the Middle Atlantic Division (-3.43%), the East North Central Division (-2.88%), the South Atlantic Division (-2.78%), the New England Division (-2.06%), the West North Central Division (-1.33%), and the East South Central Division (-0.76%).

The worst performing state in the fourth quarter was Nevada where home prices fell 3.95 percent while the best performing state was Arizona which saw prices rise 4.11 percent for the quarter.

Year-over-year, Alaska had the largest increase in home prices, 5.10 percent, while Nevada posted the largest decline of 12.91 percent.

Of the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the United States, 19 of the areas posted declines in home prices in 2011 with the Chicago-Joliet-Napervile, IL area posting the largest decline of 9.77 percent while the Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills,MI area posted the largest increase of 3.47 percent as measured with the purchase-only indexes.

In the fourth quarter, 11 of the 25 metropolitan areas posted an increase in home prices with the largest increase posted in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ area (+7.01%) while the largest decline was posted in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA area (-3.40%).

FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis stated, “While FHFA’s national index shows a 2 percentage point price decline over the latest four quarters, 12 states and the District of Columbia posted price increases. When coupled with the fact that about half of all U.S. states saw price increases in the latest quarter, this growth adds to mounting evidence that real estate markets are seeing at least some signs of life.”

Census Divisions:

Pacific: Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California

Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico

West North Central: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri

West South Central: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana

East North Central: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio

East South Central: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama

New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut

Middle Atlantic: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

South Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida

Tags: FHFA, home prices, HPI, census divisions, price gains, price declines