When the National Association of REALTORS®’ Chief Economist Lawrence Yun was attending the University of Maryland College Park in the early 1990s—only about 10 miles from the U.S. Capitol—murder rates were published on the front page of the newspaper every day. Washington, D.C. was considered the murder capital of America back then.
But the story has changed. Properties that were once valued at only $50,000 are going for $700,000 today, just 25 years later. Yun said it underscores the significant impact real estate professionals can have when they’re “willing to take a risk in development.” Investment can truly transform a city.
Every real estate market has a story to tell, and William Doerner, senior economist at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, wants to help you tell yours with numbers. During a forum on rising home prices at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago on Saturday, Doerner highlighted a helpful tool located at fhfa.gov/hpi. The site is full of free data and research nuggets, including graphics, interactive maps at ZIP code and county levels, and city rankings. And if you’re a real data geek, you can download FHFA’s Excel files, look up your hyper-local appreciation rates, and play around with the data first hand.
The house price index motion chart and summary tables are especially helpful tools for showing price changes over a set period of time at the state, city, and regional level. For example, if you search all HPI metro area rankings, you’ll find Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Wash., at the top, followed by Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash., and Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond third for the second quarter of 2017. However, if you look at metro house price index rankings going back to the first quarter of 1991 through today, you’ll find big picture trends putting areas like Boulder, Colo., Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. areas on the top of the list. That wider angle tells a tale of economic development, migration, income, and pricing.
Another FHFA data story can be told looking at home price variations locally. News stories for the last decade have credited millennials for a renaissance of urban centers. But when Doerner narrowed in at the ZIP code level and removed inflation, he found that “it’s a trend that’s been going on longer.” Properties in downtowns across the country have been consistently increasing in price for the last 25 years, including such areas as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, and Minneapolis.
Dig into data to uncover the stories in your market at fhfa.gov/hpi.