Home Prices Decline Slightly in Second Quarter

August 27, 2009

U.S. home prices fell 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2009 from the first quarter of 2009, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI).

This decline is slightly larger than the o.5 percent decline in the prior quarterly period. Over the year ending in the second quarter of 2009, seasonally-adjusted prices fell 6.1 percent. The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-acquired mortgages.

The seasonally-adjusted monthly index for June rose 0.5 percent following a revised increase of 0.6 percent in May, but these gains did not fully offset earlier declines affecting the quarterly result. The monthly index has risen a net 0.5 percent over the first six months of this year.

“For the second consecutive quarter we are seeing much slower rates of depreciation in the HPI than in 2008,” said Senior Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Edward J. DeMarco. “This is further evidence that prices may be stabilizing for the nation as a whole.”

While the national, purchase-only house price index fell 6.1 percent from the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2009, prices of other goods and services fell 2.4 percent. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes fell approximately 3.8 percent over the latest year.

FHFA’s all-transactions house price index, which include data from mortgages used for both home purchases and refinancings, declined more over the latest quarter than the purchase-only index. The all-transactions HPI decreased 2.4 percent in the latest quarter but was down only 4.0 percent over the four-quarter period.

Significant Findings:

•As estimated in FHFA’s seasonally-adjusted, purchase-only indexes, six of the nine Census Divisions experienced price declines in the latest quarter.

•Prices were weakest in the New England Division, which experienced a 1.6 percent price decline in the quarter and strongest in the West South Central Division, which saw a price increase of 0.2 percent.

•Seasonally-adjusted, purchase-only indexes indicate that prices fell in the latest quarter in 38 states. Prices fell over the last year in 46 states and Washington, D.C.

•In terms of four-quarter appreciation rates, 37 states and Washington, D.C. are ranked above the national average and only 13 are below average.

•Of the recently released purchase-only indexes for the 25 most-populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., four-quarter price declines were greatest in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla., Metropolitan Division. That area saw price declines of 28.2 percent from the second quarter of 2008.

•Prices held up best in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, Metropolitan Area, where prices rose 2.9 percent over that period.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.