The Home Price Index Shows That Home Values Increased In May

The FHFA Home Price Index May 2009Home values around the country appear to be leveling.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency‘s latest Home Price Index report shows values up by nearly 1 percent in May versus the month prior.

Since peaking in April 2007, values remain off by 11 percent nationwide.

The FHFA Home Price Index is an interesting metric.  Different from the Case-Shiller Index which collects data from just 20 U.S. markets, the Home Price Index reflects every U.S. home that backs a mortgage sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In this sense, the FHFA Home Price Index is more “national” than the Case-Shiller Index but the HPI has its flaws, too.

The House Price Index specifically excludes from its measurements the sales price on any home purchase with any of following traits:

  1. Is new home construction
  2. Is a multi-unit property
  3. Is financed by an entity other than Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac

Because of these exclusions, some analysts say the report is incomplete.  The same could be said of every method of home valuation, however.

Therefore, what’s most important to today’s home buyers and sellers is that each of the “popular” home valuation reports shows similar patterns.  Home prices appear to have stopped falling and may be even starting to recover.

It won’t be for a few years that we’ll be able to look back and point to the exact month that real estate bottomed. Nevertheless, considering how the data has presented as of late, it’s reasonable to think that we’ve already hit it.  Certainly, that’s what the Home Price Index suggests.

For a region-by-region breakdown of the Home Price Index, visit the FHFA website.

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