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FHFA: Prices Rose Year-to-Year but Dropped 0.3% Month-to-Month

An index that tracks homes with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac found a 4.9% year-to-year uptick in May but a small decline compared to April numbers.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. house prices fell in May, down 0.3% from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI).

However, prices were still up year-to-year by 4.9%. FHFA’s previously reported 0.2% increase for April 2020 was revised downward to 0.1%.

Home prices varied noticeably in the nine census districts included in FHFA’s numbers, ranging from negative 1.0% in the New England division to a 0.1% increase in the South Atlantic division.

Year-to-year price comparisons were all positive, however, ranging from 3.7% higher in the New England division to 6.3% higher in the Mountain division.

“U.S. house prices posted a small decrease in May compared to April but remained 4.9% higher than a year ago,” says Dr. Lynn Fisher, deputy director of the division of research and statistics at FHFA. “The May HPI results are based on contracts for sale signed in late March and throughout April, which was a period when many states announced stay-at-home orders. The number of transactions powering the FHFA HPI in May was down by just over 30% compared to a year ago, reflecting the early effects of COVID-19 shutdowns.”

Fisher says a look at June’s mortgage-application rebound, though, suggests that the next report will find that “the number of transactions increased somewhat in June.” The next HPI report will be released Aug, 25, 2020, and will include data for June and the second quarter of 2020.

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