The latest Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index revealed that U.S. house prices are up 1.7% in the first quarter and up 5.7% over last year, marking the 35th consecutive quarter of home price increases since September 2011.
According to the index, house prices rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020. The top five areas in annual appreciation were: 1) Idaho 12.6%; 2) Montana 10.2%; 3) Wyoming 9.9%; 4) Utah 9%; and 5) Hawaii 8.8%. The areas showing the lowest annual appreciation were: 1) West Virginia -2.1%; 2) Alaska -0.1%; 3) North Dakota 0.4%; 4) Illinois 2.5%; and 5) Connecticut 3%.
"Home price growth in the first quarter outpaced annual growth from the same period a year ago as falling interest rates and shrinking inventories for sale led prices higher just prior to the crisis. Prices in the Mountain Division, encompassing the top four states by growth, grew by 8% on a year-over-year basis," said Lynn Fisher, deputy director of the division of research and statistics at the FHFA. "Because of the lag between contract signing and sale closing when our data are recorded, we judge the first quarter’s housing statistics were relatively unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, we are unable to account for any modifications or cancellations of sales later in March."
Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain Division experienced the strongest four-quarter appreciation, posting an 8% gain between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020, and a 2.5% increase in the first quarter of 2020, according to the report. Annual house price appreciation was weakest in the West South Central Division, where prices rose by 4.3% between the first quarters of 2019 and 2020.