Posts Tagged ‘Housing Analysis’

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Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slower in November


2015
01.28

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slower in November

Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports for November indicate that home price growth continues to slow. The 20-City Home Price Index dropped by 0.20 percent to November’s reading of 4.30 percent year-over-year. 

The five cities with highest year-over-year home price growth rates in November were:

San Francisco, California 8.90%

Miami, Florida 8.60%

Las Vegas, Nevada and Dallas, Texas 7.70%

Denver, Colorado 7.50%

The five cities with the lowest year-over-year growth in home prices were:

Cleveland, Ohio 0.60%

Washington, DC 1.90%

New York, New York and Minneapolis, Minnesota 1.50%

Chicago, Illinois 2.00%

There were no instances of year-over-year depreciation in home prices for the year-over-year readings, but month-to-month readings indicated that slower momentum in year-over-year home prices is producing negative home price readings on a month-to-month basis. First the good news; although no city included in the 20-City Home Price Index had month-to-month home prices increases of one percent or more, there were some gains.

Month-to-Month Home Price Readings Mixed

According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for November, 12 cities posted month-to-month gains for home prices and eight cities saw home prices decline from October to November.

The five cities with the highest month to month home price growth in November were:

Tampa, Florida 0.80%

Miami, Florida 0.60%

Las Vegas Nevada 0.50%

Los Angeles and San Diego, California 0.50%

San Francisco, which led year-over-year home price growth rates for November, posted a month-to-month gain of 0.10 percent.

The five cities with the highest declines in month-to-month home price growth were:

Chicago, Illinois -1.10%

Detroit, Michigan -0.90%

New York, New York -0.80%

Minneapolis, Minnesota -0.70%

Washington, DC -0.50%

In spite of gloomy month-to-month readings for November home prices for cities included in the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price report, overall signs of economic growth persist. In separate reports released Tuesday, The Department of Commerce reported that December sales of new homes rose by 11.60 percent year-over-year.

481,000 newly constructed homes were sold in December as compared to expectations of 455,000 new homes sold and November’s reading of 431,000 sales of new homes in November.

Home Sales Should Continue to Increase with Warmer Weather

As warmer weather approaches, it’s likely that overall home sales will continue to increase. Stronger job markets, low mortgage rates and the possibility of relaxing mortgage standards likely contributed to a jump in consumer confidence for January.

Consumer confidence increased from December’s index reading of 93.10 to 102.90, which was the highest reading since August 2007. Analysts had forecasted an index reading of 96.90 for January. Expectations of wage growth, which has been largely flat post-recession, were seen a significant contribution to January’s boost in consumer confidence. 

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Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slower in November


2015
01.28

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slower in November

Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports for November indicate that home price growth continues to slow. The 20-City Home Price Index dropped by 0.20 percent to November’s reading of 4.30 percent year-over-year. 

The five cities with highest year-over-year home price growth rates in November were:

San Francisco, California 8.90%

Miami, Florida 8.60%

Las Vegas, Nevada and Dallas, Texas 7.70%

Denver, Colorado 7.50%

The five cities with the lowest year-over-year growth in home prices were:

Cleveland, Ohio 0.60%

Washington, DC 1.90%

New York, New York and Minneapolis, Minnesota 1.50%

Chicago, Illinois 2.00%

There were no instances of year-over-year depreciation in home prices for the year-over-year readings, but month-to-month readings indicated that slower momentum in year-over-year home prices is producing negative home price readings on a month-to-month basis. First the good news; although no city included in the 20-City Home Price Index had month-to-month home prices increases of one percent or more, there were some gains.

Month-to-Month Home Price Readings Mixed

According to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for November, 12 cities posted month-to-month gains for home prices and eight cities saw home prices decline from October to November.

The five cities with the highest month to month home price growth in November were:

Tampa, Florida 0.80%

Miami, Florida 0.60%

Las Vegas Nevada 0.50%

Los Angeles and San Diego, California 0.50%

San Francisco, which led year-over-year home price growth rates for November, posted a month-to-month gain of 0.10 percent.

The five cities with the highest declines in month-to-month home price growth were:

Chicago, Illinois -1.10%

Detroit, Michigan -0.90%

New York, New York -0.80%

Minneapolis, Minnesota -0.70%

Washington, DC -0.50%

In spite of gloomy month-to-month readings for November home prices for cities included in the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price report, overall signs of economic growth persist. In separate reports released Tuesday, The Department of Commerce reported that December sales of new homes rose by 11.60 percent year-over-year.

481,000 newly constructed homes were sold in December as compared to expectations of 455,000 new homes sold and November’s reading of 431,000 sales of new homes in November.

Home Sales Should Continue to Increase with Warmer Weather

As warmer weather approaches, it’s likely that overall home sales will continue to increase. Stronger job markets, low mortgage rates and the possibility of relaxing mortgage standards likely contributed to a jump in consumer confidence for January.

Consumer confidence increased from December’s index reading of 93.10 to 102.90, which was the highest reading since August 2007. Analysts had forecasted an index reading of 96.90 for January. Expectations of wage growth, which has been largely flat post-recession, were seen a significant contribution to January’s boost in consumer confidence. 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 5, 2014


2014
05.05

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – May 5, 2014Last week’s economic news included several reports related to housing and mortgages. The NAR started the week on a positive note with its Pending Home Sales Index released Monday. Pending home sales in March were higher with an unexpected increase of 3.40 percent over February for an index reading of 97.40.

This is encouraging news for home sales that were severely affected by a hard winter in many areas, and suggests that as warmer weather approaches, home sales will pick up. Analysts do not expect the rapid rate of price appreciation seen in 2013. The Fed’s tapering of its “quantitative easing” program has caused mortgage rates to rise, and last year’s rapid run-up of home prices has made affordability an issue in many areas.

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index for February performed slightly better than expected with a seasonally-adjusted month-to-month reading of 0.80 percent. The expected reading was 0.70 percent.

The year-over-year reading fell short of January’s reading of 13.20 percent and the expected reading of 13.00 percent at 12.90 percent. Analysts noted the continuing trend of slowing momentum in home price growth, but seem confident that home prices will continue to increase over the spring months.

Fed Continues Tapering Of QE, Mortgage Rates Mixed

Wednesday brought the FOMC’s customary statement after its two-day meeting concluded. There were no surprises as the statement verified another monthly tapering of $10 billion from the Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) program of asset purchases.

The tapering was evenly divided with $5 billion less in MBS purchased and $5 billion less in treasury securities purchased. The ongoing tapering was seen as contributing to rising mortgage rates, but the Fed asserted that its asset purchases remain sufficient to dampen rapid increases in long-term interest rates, which include mortgage rates.

The Fed repeated its usual reminder that its decisions are not on a pre-set course and that the committee members would closely monitor economic and financial developments as guidance for future decisions.

Freddie Mac reported mixed results for mortgage rates on Thursday. Average rates rose by four basis points to 4.29 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with discount points of 0.70 percent.

The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dropped by one basis point to 3.38 percent; discount points steady at 0.60 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose by two basis points to 3.05 percent; discount points dropped from 0.50 to 0.40 percent.

Weekly jobless claims made an unexpected jump to 344,000 as compared to the prior week’s revised figure of 329,000 jobless claims and an expected reading of 320,000 new jobless claims.

Analysts note that week-to-week figures continued to show volatility, but said that on balance, the rolling average for jobless claims appeared consistent with moderate growth in labor markets.

This Week

This week’s scheduled economic news shows no events related to housing and mortgages. Highlights include Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s appearance before the Joint Economic Committee in Washington, D.C. and the usual releases of mortgage rates and new jobless claims on Thursday. 

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FOMC Noted Retail Sales In March Reached Highest Level Since September Of 2012


2014
05.01

FOMC Noted Retail Sales In March Reached Highest Level Since September Of 2012The FOMC of the Federal Reserve released its customary statement after its meeting concluded April 30.

FOMC members said that the economy is improving after a winter lull caused by poor weather. The national unemployment rate remains high, although some improvement in labor markets was reported. Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although FOMC said that the restraint is diminishing.

FOMC Monitors Inflation, Further Reduces Asset Purchases

The FOMC statement reflected members’ concerns about the inflation rate remaining below its goal of two percent, and said that this could eventually impact economic recovery. The Fed expects inflation to approach its goal within the “medium term.”

The Fed will reduce its monthly asset purchases of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities to a total of $45 billion in May. FOMC members said that the Fed’s level of asset purchases is sufficient to maintain downward pressure on long term interest rates and to support mortgage markets.

The Fed expects to continue reducing its asset purchases as long as improvements in the labor market and general economic conditions occur. As of March, the national unemployment rate was 6.70 percent; the Fed previously established a goal of 6.50 percent unemployment as an indicator of economic recovery.

The statement included its usual comment that asset purchases are not on a pre-set course and that FOMC members monitor economic reports and other financial data on an ongoing basis as part of the FOMC’s decision making process.

Fed Funds Target Rate Unchanged

FOMC members agreed to maintain the Fed’s current “highly accommodative” monetary policy and left the target Federal Funds rate at between 0.00 and 0.25 percent. The committee expects this policy to continue long after the asset purchase program concludes.

FOMC members will continue to monitor economic and financial developments along with inflation to determine the course of the target federal funds rate.

The FOMC noted that retail sales in March reached their highest level since September of 2012; this was viewed as a sign of a stronger overall economy.

This FOMC statement mentioned inflation as a basis for reviewing monetary policy more than in recent statements, and clearly established maximum employment and the committee’s target two percent inflation rate as benchmarks for decisions related to future policy decisions.

April’s unemployment rate is set for release on May 2.

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Warmer Weather Brings In The Buyers, Is There Inventory?


2014
04.30

Warmer Weather Brings In The Buyers, Is There Inventory?After three consecutive months of decline, the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index remained nearly unchanged in February. Year-over-year home prices rose by 12.90 percent in February as compared to 13.20 percent in January.

20 Percent Below Their 2006 Pre-recession Peak

Analysts note that in spite of recent slowdowns in home prices, the year-over-year rates of home price growth remain close to peak price growth attained in 2006. National home prices remain approximately 20 percent below their 2006 pre-recession peak.

13 cities posted lower rates of price gains in February. The Case-Shiller 10 and 20 city indices showed year-over-year price gains of 13.10 and 12.90 percent respectively. Only five cities posted year-over-year gains in price appreciation.

Las Vegas, Nevada continues to lead home price growth but its year-over-year rate of home price growth slowed from January’s reading of 24.9 percent to February’s reading of 23.10 percent. Washington, D.C. posted its eighth consecutive month of home price gains with a year-over-year reading of 9.10 percent, its highest rate of price increases since May 2006.

Dallas, Texas posted a year-over-year rate of 10.10 percent and a month-to-month increase of 0.20 percent, which continues the city’s record home price growth.

Home Price Gains Expected To Slow In Coming Months

Analysts said that more homes are expected to come on the market and also noted that the rapid increase in home prices for some areas likely sidelined some buyers. As inventories of homes increase, home prices are expected to rise at more modest rates. Job markets continue to experience ups and downs and incomes are relatively flat.

These factors can cause would-be homeowners to take a “wait-and-see” stance. Price increases in other sectors can also impact home prices, as buyers adjust their home purchase plans to what they can afford to spend.

Pending Home Sales Rise In March

The NAR reported that its pending home sales index rose by 3.40 percent in March as compared to a decrease of -0.80 percent for February. The March reading showed the first increase in pending home sales in nine months, and was the highest reading since November.

Warmer weather allowed more buyers shop for homes, but remains 7.90 percent lower than in March 2013. Higher home prices and low inventories of available homes were cited as reasons for the lower reading.

Pending home sales by region showed mixed results, and suggested the impact of severe winter weather on potential home buyers.

Northeast: +1.40 percent

Midwest:    -0.80 percent

South:       +5.60 percent

West:        +5.70 percent

Based on a slow start during the first quarter of 2014, the NAR forecasts 2014 sales of existing homes at 4.9 million as compared to 5.1 million existing homes sold in 2013.

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Existing Home Sales Show Improvement In The Northeast And Midwest Region


2014
04.24

Existing Home Sales Show Improvement In The Northeast And Midwest RegionMarch sales of existing homes exceeded expectations at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million sales according to the NAR. Analysts projected that existing home sales would reach 4.55 million based on February’s reading of 4.50 million sales.

The pace of existing home sales declined by 0.20 percent as compared to February’s reading.

Headwinds Cause Slower Pace Of Home Sales

Analysts cited poor winter weather and rapidly rising home prices as factors that kept buyers away, although the Northeast and Midwest regions reported improvements in home sales in March. NAR said that the national average home price increased to $198,500, which was a year-over-year increase of 7.90 percent.

New mortgage regulations, which have caused mortgage lenders to take a conservative position with their lending policies, are also seen as a discouragement to buyers with less-than-perfect credit, first-time and moderate income home buyers.

Experts expressed concerns that current home prices and tight lending standards could create a shortage of first-time buyers.

Home sales to investors have fallen as higher home prices and fewer distressed (foreclosure and short sale) properties cause deals on cheap homes to dry up.

Fannie And Freddie Revise Construction, Housing Market Forecasts

Fannie Mae reduced its forecast for home construction started in 2014 from 1.55 million to 1.05 million. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said that constraints on credit and labor contributed to the revised forecast.

Freddie Mac reduced its forecast of homes sold in 2014 from 5.60 million to 5.50 million. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said that tight inventories of homes in some areas could cause significant challenges for home buyers.

FHFA Home Price Index Posts March Gain

FHFA, the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reported that February home prices related to mortgages that Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee, gained 0.60 percent as compared to a revised January reading of a 0.40 percent gain.

Year-over-year, home prices rose by 6.90 percent as compared to January’s year over year reading of 7.20 percent.

Analysts said that smaller month-to-month dips in home prices could indicate a turnaround for lagging housing markets and also noted that sales lost during severe winter weather may be recouped as the spring buying season gains momentum.

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Just How Sustainable Is The Micro Housing Trend?


2014
04.16

Just How Sustainable Is the Micro Housing Trend?Something that the Europeans have been doing for decades has finally made its way over the Atlantic Ocean to North America: the trend is called micro housing, and it’s turned into an entirely new way of living.

With micro housing, we’re beginning to do away with oversize condos and even detached homes, learning to live in a more minimalistic manner and curbing our hoarding habits for good.

The affordability of micro housing is making it possible even for young adults and students to purchase their homes in the city centers across North America. But one must ask, is the micro housing trend good for the globe too?

Sustainability Of Micro Condominiums

Being able to pack a higher number of salable units into one building and lowering the prices to widen the market and encourage young buyers to purchase instead of rent is certainly economically beneficial; but is this trend sustainable and beneficial for the planet too?

As it turns out, the cost of building a micro-apartment structure over a regular sized one has a much lighter footprint on our earth. Micro-housing is a sustainable part of urban design because it is made to be a contributing asset to compact cities across North America, requiring less infrastructure cost, fewer resources, and a smaller environmental impact from shipping to construction to ongoing management and maintenance.

Some micro-buildings even have shared areas like kitchens and lounges; this helps to cut back on building costs even further and lessens air pollution from shipping.

Micro Homes: Are They Green?

Though micro detached homes are also on the rise, they have run into problems with bylaws in certain cities across North America. They may just be the way of the future, though, with the real estate prices in many areas growing out of control. These micro homes are similar to the micro condominium units in their petite sizes, however they typically do not have a standard foundation, instead resting on screw piles that are attached to the ground.

These easy-to-assemble micro homes, though perhaps battling with particular municipalities and their bylaws, offer practical housing that is sustainable too. Green features of these micro homes include the additional options of a composting toilet, solar power energy systems, grey water treatment system and a rainwater collection system.

The Lifestyle Of The Micro-Housing Trend

Another factor that should be taken into consideration when looking at the sustainability of the micro-housing trend in the kind of lifestyle it is promoting. Generally situated in the dense city centers, micro housing encourages a lifestyle that is affordable, thereby attracting residents who will take public transit or be within walking distance to work or school, and lessening the need for the daily use of a vehicle.

Perhaps we’re looking a little too enthusiastically at the future, but as it seems, the micro housing trend is bringing with it all kinds of benefits, both economically and sustainably. A lifestyle and housing solution that finally benefits the planet is always accepted among our modern cities across North America, and soon it may just be the reason to purchase instead of rent, allowing us to walk instead of drive.

For more information on the micro housing trend in your area, call your trusted mortgage advisor today!

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Four Places To Look For Tax Deductions In Your Home


2014
04.08

Four Places To Look For Tax Deductions In Your Home Paying your income taxes each year leave your wallet a bit thin? There may be money hiding in your home that lessens your tax burden. Here are four places to look:

1. Home-Office Deduction

If you work from home, you could qualify for a home-office deduction. Taking the deduction can be a bit complicated; so many people who qualify don’t claim the exemption. An estimated 26 million Americans have home offices, but only 3.4 million claim them on their tax return.

Perhaps that’s why the Internal Revenue Service attempted to simplify the process in 2013.

The write-off takes into account depreciation, utilities, insurance, the amount of square footage dedicated for office space, whether you host clients at your house and other factors.

Because the parameters involved in filing a home-office exemption are rather complicated, it’s best to keep all business-related receipts, records of client meetings and other pertinent information to make things easier when you prepare your return.

2. Casualty Loss

Damage to your home from an act of God or a theft or burglary may qualify you for an income tax exemption. To qualify for the write-off, the causality loss must meet the “sudden event test.” That means it must be sudden, unpredictable, have involved some natural force and occur in a single instance.

To claim thefts and burglaries, you must be able to prove that a wrong doing has actually occurred. It can’t just be a case of a lost item that you suspect was stolen. Proof can come in the form of witness statements, police reports or newspaper accounts.

3. Energy Efficiency Upgrades And Repairs

Upgrading your home with energy efficient improvements can qualify you for a tax deduction. New roofs, insulation, windows, doors and a number of additional items qualify for the deduction. The deductions lets homeowners claim 10 percent of the total bill for energy efficient materials. The maximum credit is $500.

4. Real Estate Taxes And Newly Purchased Homes

New home owners should look at their settlement statement a bit closer. If the previous owner prepaid property taxes that cover any of the time you owned the home, you can include the prepaid taxes in your property tax deduction.

Don’t pay more than you have to when you file your taxes each April. Consider these commonly overlooked deductions that can lessen the amount you have to pay.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – April 7, 2014


2014
04.07

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 7, 2014Last week’s economic news included readings on February construction spending and multiple reports on employment data.

Private sector employment was higher in March, but The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Non-Farm Payrolls for March fell short of expectations. According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates ticked upward.

Employment And Unemployment News

ADP’s payrolls report for March was higher than February’s reading, with 191,000 new private sector jobs added. In February, 178,000 jobs were added. February’s reading originally showed 138,000 new jobs added.

While analysts were confident that private-sector employment was showing signs of stability, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics swamped excess confidence in labor markets Friday with its March reading for Non-Farm Payrolls.

192,000 jobs were added in March against predictions of 200,000 jobs added and February’s reading of 197,000 jobs added.

The news was not all bad as job gains for January and February were revised upward. January’s job gains were revised from 129,000 to 144,000 and February’s reading was revised from 175,000 to 197,000 jobs added. The revised readings represent a total of 37,000 more jobs added.

As data impacted by severe winter weather “shakes out,” it would not be surprising to see a revision to March’s new jobless claims reading as well.

Unemployment Rate Holds Steady, Workforce Numbers Higher

While readings on employment have been up and down in recent months, the national unemployment rate has held relatively steady, with last week’s reading at 6.70 percent. 503,000 workers joined the workforce this increased the labor participation rate for March from 63 percent to 63.20 percent.

Mortgage rates were incrementally higher last week according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage increased by one basis point to 4.41 percent; discount points moved from 0.60 percent to 0.70 percent.

The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose by five basis points to 3.47 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.60 percent. 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.12 percent, which was two basis points higher than the previous week. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages were unchanged at 0.50 percent.

This Week’s Economic News Highlights

Job openings for February, FOMC minutes and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for March are set for release this week. As usual, Freddie Mac will post results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey and weekly unemployment claims will also be reported.

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S & P Case-Shiller Shows Home Prices Down For Third Consecutive Month


2014
03.27

S & P Case-Shiller Shows Home Prices Down For Third Consecutive MonthHarsh winter weather conditions contributed to home prices falling in January. The S&P Case-Shiller 20-City composite index reported that home prices dropped by 0.10 percent in January, but after seasonal adjustments, home prices increased by 0.80 percent in January as compared to December. 12 of 20 cities posted declines in home prices in January.

There’s no cause for alarm, as year-over-year home prices increased by 13.20 percent as compared to year-over –year readings of 13.40 percent in December and 13.70 percent in November. David Blitzer, chair of the S&P Dow Jones index committee, said “The housing market is showing signs of moving forward with more normal price increases.” Home prices remain about 20 percent below a peak reached in 2006.

Housing Markets Face Challenges

Analysts expect home prices to grow at a slower pace in 2014. Factors impacting home prices include higher mortgage rates that make homes less affordable, new mortgage rules that may affect some homebuyers’ ability to qualify for a mortgage.

A shortage of available homes overshadowed housing market growth in 2013; there just weren’t enough homes available to meet demand in some areas.  The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) noted in its statement last week that it was difficult to determine the exact scope of winter weather on recent economic reports.

Regional Markets Show Discrepancies In Recovery

The S & P Case-Shiller 10 and 20-city home price index reports shed light on a “patchwork quilt” housing recovery. While some areas have seen a higher than average rate of year-over-year home price growth, other areas are underperforming.

Here is a sampling of Case-Shiller’s January data throughout the U.S:

Las Vegas, Nevada                             +24.90 percent

San Francisco, California                     +23.10 percent

Chicago, Illinois                                 +10.80 percent

Washington, D.C.                              +9.20 percent

New York, New York                           +6.70 percent

Cleveland, Ohio                                 + 4.00 percent

 The S & P Case Shiller 10 and 20 city home price indices posted year-over-year gains of 13.50 and 13.20 percent respectively.

 FHFA Data Shows Similar Trend

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, released its House Price Index (HPI) for January with similar results for homes mortgaged or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The House Price Index indicated that home prices rose by a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.50 percent from December to January. According to the FHFA HPI, home prices increased by 7.40 percent year-over-year.

January’s HPI was 8.00 percent below the index’s April 2007 high.

The FHFA HPI data is seasonally adjusted and is based on home purchases only.

FHFA month-to-month data for the nine census bureau districts reflects the differences in housing markets throughout the U.S.

FHFA month-to –month home price growth December 2013 to January 2014:

Middle Atlantic division:    + 1.30 percent

New England                        + 1.00 percent

West North Central             + 1.00 percent

Pacific                                    + 0.80 percent

East South Central              + 0.70 percent

Mountain                              + 0.50 percent

South Atlantic                      + 0.30 percent

East North Central              + 0.10 percent

West South Central             –  0.30 percent

Along with warm weather’s arrival is the potential for regional housing markets sidelined over the winter to recover.