Monday, March 12, 2012

Housing Prices in Utah--The freefall appears to be over

Show me the data. . .not just the anecdotes! The Federal Housing Finance Agency now has a full year of 2011 Housing Price Index (HPI) data available. You can find out more about the index by clicking here. However, the current behavior of the index certainly points out the need to understand your data.

In the second chart that shows the year-over change in the HPI, you'll notice it looks like all of Utah's Metropolitan Statistical Areas were poised to move toward actual year-to-year home price appreciation during 2011. However, according to the 2011 numbers that dream didn't really come to fruition. In fact, according to the year-to-year numbers home prices took a turn for the worse in 2011. What happened? Well, it wasn't necessarily a deterioration in home prices. In 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency broadened the transactions included in the HPI, thus distorting the change between pre-HPI figures and 2011 figures.

In this case, the actual index itself provides a better indicator to the movement in home prices here in Utah. You'll notice that in second quarter 2011, the index hit the bottom of the home price free fall here in Utah. In the final two quarters of 2011 all the Utah areas covered by the HPI showed improvement. Even St. George, which whole-heartedly participated in the housing bubble, appears to have hit the bottom of home prices in mid-2011. Logan shows the slowest improvement, but also participated in the upswing the least.

To access HPI data for all available areas, click here.

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