February 2000 Market Pulse

February 1, 2000

Growth: East leads in home prices

If you’re wondering where the growth is, look East--and West. Home price increases averaged 5.9 percent in 1999, according to the U.S. Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac oversight agency. But the average masks big regional differences.

Many of the growth leaders were in the East, led by the District of Columbia (13.1 percent), Massachusetts (11.7 percent), and New Hampshire (10 percent).

The West lagged considerably. Only Colorado and California ranked in the top 10 (with rates of 9.6 percent and 7 percent, respectively), whereas seven of the 10 states with the lowest price increases were in the West. Hawaii reported a 4.6 percent price drop.

Meanwhile, population growth has been taking off in the Southwest, led by Las Vegas (with 55 percent growth); Laredo, Texas (41.2 percent); and McAllen, Texas (36.2 percent). National growth, by comparison, was only 8.7 percent. Figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau and track population growth between 1990 and 1998.

EXISTING-HOME SALES: Deals surge

Sales of existing single-family homes jumped in November, after months of decline, as homebuyers moved on deals before mortgage rates climbed higher. The seasonally adjusted annual rate rose 6 percent to 5.09 million units from a 4.79-million unit pace in October.

DECEMBER BUSINESS CONFIDENCE SURVEY: Low confidence bottoms out

Practitioners' confidence in the home sales market over the next six months increased dramatically, even as they reported a weakening housing market for the seventh straight month.

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