FHFA Says Home Prices Are On the Rise
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released monthly house price indexes for the U.S. and its nine Census divisions for May on July 24. And as NAHB's Eye on Housing reports, the news was quite encouraging. Nationally, house prices rose 0.8% from April on a seasonally adjusted basis, and 1.8% on an unadjusted basis.
Seven of the nine Census divisions posted gains in May, with increases ranging from 0.5% to 1.7%, seasonally adjusted. House prices were flat in the East South Central division and declined 1% in the West South Central division. On an unadjusted basis, the decline in the West South Central division was reduced to 0.7% and increases in the remaining divisions ranged from 1.0% to 3.4%.
From May of last year, nationally house prices rose 3.8% while increases across divisions ranged from 0.1% in the New England division to 4.5% in the Mountain division (not seasonally adjusted). Our blog also notes that house prices posted solid gains in the first half this year following a turbulent 2011. The indexes for the nine divisions show strong gains around the country in 2012, including the divisions with the hardest-hit housing bubble states of Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada.
New-Home Sales Slowed in June From Upwardly Revised May Pace
Sales of newly built, single-family homes slowed 8.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 350,000 units in June following a relatively strong, upwardly revised pace in the previous month, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. On a regional basis, sales gained 14.6% in the Midwest and 2.1% in the West, but fell 8.6% in the South and 60% in the Northeast in June.
Meanwhile, the inventory of new homes for sale was virtually unchanged for the month at 144,000 units, which represents a relatively slim, 4.9-month supply at the current sales pace. Commenting on the latest numbers, NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg noted in an official press release that, "While we would have liked to see a third consecutive month of new-home sales gains in June, the fact remains that the sales numbers are up on both a quarterly and yearly basis, while builders continue to report that they are seeing more serious buyers in the market for a newly constructed home with all of the latest updates.”
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe also observed that "The lower number of new-home sales in June represents an adjustment from a robust level of activity in May, yet overall results for the second quarter show we are still on track for continued improvement. That said, the very tight inventory of new homes for sale at this time poses a challenge to builders, who’d like to have a larger selection for buyers to choose from but continue to confront issues with obtaining credit to build viable new projects.”
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- Joanne Loftus