Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

Home Prices in U.S. Rose 6.6% in the Second Quarter, FHFA Says

Home prices in the U.S. increased 6.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier as buyers competed for a shrinking supply of listings.

Prices rose 1.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous three months, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a statement Tuesday. In June, prices climbed 0.1 percent from May, less than the 0.5 percent average estimate of 12 economists.

The U.S. has been starved for inventory, in part because builders slowed production after the last decade’s property crash and many seniors are choosing to remain in their houses rather than downsize. The supply of previously owned homes on the market at the end of June fell 7.1 percent from a year earlier, the 25th consecutive annual decline, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“U.S. house prices rose in most states during the second quarter,” William Doerner, senior economist at FHFA, said in the statement. “New-home sales are climbing but, relative to the overall population, they still remain low from a historical perspective. The tight inventory is a major explanation for why house prices have been increasing every quarter over the last six years.”

The FHFA index measures transactions for single-family properties financed with mortgages owned or securitized by government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It doesn’t provide prices. The national median price of an existing single-family home was $255,600 in the second quarter, up 6.2 percent from a year earlier, data from the Realtors group show.

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