Home values fell again in January, according to the Federal Home Finance Agency’s Home Price Index. Values were reported down 0.6 percent, on average.
We say “on average” because the Home Price Index is a national report. It doesn’t capture the essence of a local market , or even a city market.
The most granular that the monthly Home Price Index gets is regional and January’s report shows that:
- Values in the Mountain states rose 2.0%
- Values in the Pacific states were flat
- Values in the East North Central states fell 1.8%
It’s hardly helpful for home buyers entering the market, or home sellers trying to properly price a home. Furthermore, because the Home Price Index reports on a 2-month delay, its data fails to reflect the current market conditions.
Versus January — the period from which HPI data is collected — mortgage rates are lower, buyer activity is up, and the federal home buyer tax credit is closer to expiring. These each can have an impact on housing.
Ultimately, national real estate data like the Home Price Index is best suited for lenders and policy-makers. National data helps to identify trends that shape formal policy, but it doesn’t help you, specifically.
Since peaking in April 2007, the Home Price Index is off 13.2 percent.