Home prices jumped 5.7% year-over-year at the end of 2018

Home prices across the country jumped 5.7 percent during the final months of 2018 over the year before, with the mountainous states in the western U.S. seeing the strongest growth.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s latest report, published Tuesday, found that home prices grew in all 50 states during the fourth quarter of 2018. However, they skyrocketed in western states including Idaho, which saw 11.9 percent appreciation compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, Nevada, at 11.2 percent, and Utah, at 9.8 percent.

“Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest four-quarter appreciation, posting an 8.1 percent gain between the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018 and a 1.6 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2018,” the report added.

A graph showing U.S. housing price growth Credit: FHFA

The report also found that price growth was weakest in North Dakota, West Virginia and Connecticut.

Compared to the previous quarter in 2018, home prices overall grew 1.1 percent at the end of 2018, according to the report.

Price growth by state. Credit: FHFA

At the metro level, home prices also rose in most cities, with the San Francisco area seeing the most appreciation, at 17 percent year-over-year.

Though the price increases will likely be good news to real estate professionals bracing for a potentially cooler market, a Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) official warned in the report that growth has indeed slowed down.

“House prices rose throughout 2018 but at a slower rate than in recent years,” William Doerner, an FHFA economist, said in a statement. “In the fourth quarter, house price appreciation hit one of the lowest levels in the past four years.”

A graphic showing how price growth in 2017 compares to growth in 2018. Credit: FHFA

To put this into perspective, the fourth quarter of 2017 saw home price appreciation of 6.8 percent year-over-year — more than a full percentage point higher than the final quarter of 2018. The fourth quarter of 2016 saw 6.2 percent growth, which is also higher than 2018.

However, the report shows that 2018 still outperformed every quarter from late 2006 to late 2012 — or the period leading up to and including the housing bubble.

Tuesday’s report, officially known as the Home Price Index Report, is compiled using data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A previous report covering just November of 2018 found that home prices had climbed 6 percent year-over-year that month, with the Pacific region seeing the greatest gains.

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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