Monday, February 28, 2011

Home prices flat across much of Colorado in latest FHFA data

The Federal Housing Finance Agency last week released its house price index (HPI) numbers for the fourth quarter of 2010. The FHFA HPI is not as closely watched as the Case-Shiller data, but unlike the Case-Shiller index, FHFA offers home price index values for all metro areas of Colorado.

See here for the 4th Q report.

In the first chart, we see that house prices in Colorado have been more stable than national prices, and that there was much less of a bubble in Colorado. From the 4th quarter of 2009 to the 4th quarter of 2010, the house price index is down 1.3 percent in the US and it is down 1.0 percent in Colorado. The US index is down 10.9 percent since it peaked during the first quarter of 2007, and the Colorado index is down 4.5 percent since it peaked during the first quarter of 2008.

In the metropolitan markets of Colorado, the changes in the index levels are:

The chart shows the different price index changes over the past two quarters and over 1-year and 5-year periods. The chart is rather self-explanatory, and as can seen, over the past five years, price declines have been generally moderate in Colorado's metro areas.

The final chart shows the index curve for each metro area:

Conclusions: The FHFA data, coupled with the most recent Case-Shiller data (analysis here)further confirms that, while home prices are generally declining in Colorado, the continued decreases are continuing at a measured pace. There are presently no signs of a swift or large drop in home prices in regions of Colorado. Even Grand Junction, which was hit with a rather severe drop in prices following the financial panic of 2008, has moderated in recent quarters. On the other hand, there are few signs of sustained or significant price increases either.

The FHFA sums up the national situation as follows:

U.S. house prices fell in the fourth quarter of 2010 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). The HPI, calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-acquired mortgages, was 0.8 percent lower on a seasonally adjusted basis in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter of 2010. The unadjusted national decline was 2.2 percent. Over the past year, seasonally adjusted prices fell 3.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2010.

FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was down 0.3 percent from its November value. The monthly increase for the October-to-November period was revised downward from an initial estimate of 0.0 percent to -0.3 percent.

“Lingering unemployment and elevated inventories of for-sale homes contributed to the
ongoing decline of house prices,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco.

Note: FHFA’s purchase-only and all-transactions HPI track average house price changes in repeat sales or refinancings on the same single-family properties. The purchase-only index is based on more than 6 million repeat sales transactions, while the all-transactions index includes more than 42 million repeat transactions. Both indexes are based on data obtained from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for mortgages originated over the past 36 years. The index values shown here all are not-seasonally-adjusted data from the all-transactions HPI.