Home prices were up 1.7 percent quarter over quarter and 5.7 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020, according to the quarterly ​Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). The seasonally adjusted monthly index was up 0.1 percent from February to March.

“Annual house price appreciation was stronger in the first quarter of 2020, compared to a year ago, driven by falling interest rates and declining inventories of homes for sale, over the second half of 2019 and early 2020,” Lynn Fisher, deputy director of FHFA’s division of research and statistics, said in a video accompanying the data release.

Home prices rose in every single census region and every state outside of West Virginia and Alaska, which saw annual declines of 2.1 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Idaho saw the strongest gains, posting an annual home price increase of 12.6 percent.

The HPI, according to the FHFA, is “a weighted, repeat-sales index, meaning that it measures average price changes in repeat sales or refinancings on the same properties. This information is obtained by reviewing repeat mortgage transactions on single-family properties whose mortgages have been purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac since January 1975.”

The data is unlikely to reflect the economic impact of COVID-19, according to FHFA.

“Estimated house price movements are based upon closings through March 31st, but, because of the time delay between when a contract is signed and a loan closes, purchase data from March largely reflect prices that were set in late-January and throughout February,” the agency said in a statement. “In other words, many March purchases reflect prices that were agreed upon before broad stay-at-home orders were issued.”

Developing… 

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