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HPI Rises for Tenth Consecutive Quarter

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U.S. house prices rose 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). This is the tenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index.

“Home price appreciation in the fourth quarter was considerable, but more modest than in recent periods,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “It is too early to know whether the lower quarterly growth rate represents the beginning of more normalized price appreciation patterns or a more significant slowdown.”

Compared with last year, house prices rose 7.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.8 percent from November.

The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose 7.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013 while prices of other goods and services rose only 0.7 percent. The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 7.0 percent over the latest year.

Significant Findings:

The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose in 38 states during the fourth quarter of 2013 (down from 48 states as reported during the third quarter).

The top five states in annual appreciation: 1) Nevada 2) California 3) Arizona 4) Oregon 5) Florida.

Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the fourth quarter, posting a 2.4 percent increase and an 11.7 percent increase since last year.

House prices were weakest in the New England division, where prices increased 0.1 percent from the prior quarter.

The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae 'Private Forces Move to the Fore'

Freddie Mac's January 2014 Highlights:

• The total mortgage portfolio decreased at an annualized rate of 1.9% in January.

• Single-family refinance-loan purchase and guarantee volume was $10.5 billion in January representing 55% of total single-family mortgage portfolio purchases or issuances. Relief refinance mortgages comprised approximately 34% of our total single-family refinance volume during January 2014 based on unpaid principal balance (UPB).

• Total number of loan modifications for the month ended January 31, 2014 was 6,094.

• Multifamily new business activity was $1.3 billion for the month ended January 31, 2014, which reflects the UPB of Freddie Mac's multifamily new loan purchases, issuances of other guarantee commitments and issuances of other structured securities during the period.

• The aggregate UPB of our mortgage-related investments portfolio decreased by approximately $7.1 billion in January.

• Freddie Mac mortgage-related securities and other guarantee commitments increased at an annualized rate of 1.0% in January.

• Our single-family seriously delinquent rate decreased from 2.39% in December to 2.34% in January. Our multifamily delinquency rate decreased from 0.09% in December to 0.05% in January.

• The measure of our exposure to changes in portfolio market value (PMVS-L) averaged $207 million in January. Duration gap averaged -1 month.

• On September 6, 2008, the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) appointed FHFA as Conservator of Freddie Mac.

FAIRHOLME CAPITAL MANAGEMENT'S PROPOSAL FOR PURCHASE OF INSURANCE BUSINESSES FROM FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC Insurance Business Plan Requires No Government Support and would bring approximately $52 billion of private capital to support credit risk...on $1+ trillion of new mortgages without market disruption...

FHFA also announced that Laskawy will be succeeded by current Fannie Mae board member Egbert L. J. Perry.

The Demand Institute Report Analyzing Wealth Inequality Through Housing Demand

Researchers Are Making A 3D Printer That Can Build A House In 24 Hours. The technology could completely revolutionize the construction industry and reduce the total cost of owning a home.

Creating an urban underground space is all the rage among architects.

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