The U.S. housing market turned in a strong first quarter.
According to the Home Price Index, a monthly housing metric from the Federal Home Finance Agency (FHFA), U.S. property values climbed by close to two percent between January and March of this year, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of growth.
As compared to one year ago, home values are higher by 7 percent nationwide. Today’s home buyers are finding it harder to find a bargain.
Home Price Index : 14 Straight Months Of Gains
The Home Price Index is a government-published home-valuation tracker. It tracks the change in a given home’s value between subsequent sales, using data supplied to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the mortgage approval process.
There is no “scale” for the HPI, per se. Rather, the index is benchmarked to a value of 100, which is meant to represent the U.S. housing market as it existed in 1991.
In March 2013 — for the first time since February 2009 — the Home Price Index topped 199. More important, though, is that the Home Price Index has climbed for 14 straight months, which suggests that the U.S. housing recovery is a little more permanent than economists originally believed.
Home values are rising in most U.S. markets and, although uneven, the gains appear sustainable. Buyer demand is strong, seller supply is scarce, and mortgage rates — although rising — remain favorable.
Ask any home buyer — it’s tougher to find great, cheap homes today as compared to just last year.