Home Price Index (HPI): Home Values Rising Nationwide

Home Price Index (HPI): Home Values Rising Nationwide | Mortgage Rates And News From The Mortgage Reports Blog.

 

Home Price Index (HPI): Home Values Rising Nationwide

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Home Price Index off less than 20% from April 2007 housing peakAre home prices rising or falling? It’s a tough question — especially because the answer depends on where you get your facts. It also matters  how old those facts just happen to be.

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HPI Rises 0.3% In February

Each month, the government’s Federal Home Finance Agency — the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — publishes the Home Price Index.

The Home Price Index measures the change in appraised value of the same home between successive FHFA-backed transactions (i.e. home purchase, home refinance), then uses those changes to track home valuations nationwide.

According to the Home Price Index, home values rose a seasonally-adjusted 0.3 percent between January and February 2012, and up 0.4% since last February. The data runs counter to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index which shows home values in decline.

The February Case-Shiller Index has values down more than 3 percent since last year.

In contrast to the HPI, Case-Shiller uses purchase contracts only; tracks single-family homesales only; and accounts for home sales in just a handful of cities nationwide.

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Colorado, Arizona Among Top States

Like everything in real estate, home values are a local phenomenon. In February, not every U.S. region show rising values.

According the Home Price Index, some areas experienced relatively large gains — the Mountain Region gained 1.9% in February — and others experiences relatively large losses. The West North Central Region shed 1.0 percent.

Other regional highlights include :

  • New England Region (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut) : + 0.8%
  • Pacific Region (Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California) : -0.9%
  • South Atlantic Region (Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida) : 0.9%

Even regional notes, however, aren’t telling enough. On a city-by-city basis, and on a street-by-street level, housing markets can vary.

Click here to get today’s mortgage rates.

The Flaw In The Home Price Index

As a home buyer or seller, published data showing “rising home values” or “falling home values” may be interesting, but it’s not necessarily relevant. Most home valuation trackers — including the government’s Home Price Index and the private sector Case-Shiller Index — come standard with a severe, built-in flaw.

Both used “aged” data.

Today, the calendar reads May. Yet, we’re still discussing February’s housing data. Data from February has little value buyers and sellers in May’s housing market. And, even then, characterizing the data as “from February” is somewhat of a stretch. This is because the home values used in both the Home Price index and the Case-Shiller Index are collected from actual mortgage transactions, which are recorded at closing — not at the time of sale.

Click here to get today’s mortgage rates.

This affects valuation trackers because on a purchase, the sale price is often agreed upon 45-60 days prior to closing. Yet, those values don’t reach the Home Price Index or the Case-Shiller Index until two month later. For refinances, the lag between appraisal and closing is typically 30 days.

Therefore, when we look at the Home Price Index and Case-Shiller Index reports, what we’rereally seeing is a snapshot of housing as it was 5 months ago. Data like that is of little relevance to today’s buyers and sellers. Today’s real estate market is driven by today’s supply-and-demand — not February’s.

The Home Price Index and Case-Shiller Index are useful gauges for economists and law-makers looking at long-term trends. For buyers and sellers, though, they’re less relevant. Real-time data is what matters most.

Click here to get today’s mortgage rates.

Conclusion

Whether you’re buying a home or refinancing one, home valuations matters. But, so do mortgage rates. Rising mortgage rates will do more to change your home affordability than rising home prices ever could. A 1% rise in mortgage rates takes 11 percent off your purchasing power.

Take a look at today’s low mortgage rates. Plan your budget accordingly.

Click here to get today’s mortgage rates.

Courtesy of Dan Green

http://www.TheMortgageReports.com

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