US annual home price growth at 6.1% in September, FHFA says

(Reuters) – U.S. annual home price growth accelerated again in September, underscoring the rebound of the housing market as it entered the final quarter of the year, data showed on Tuesday.

Home prices rose 6.1% on a year-over-year basis in September, up from an upwardly revised 5.8% increase in the prior month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said.

On a quarterly basis, annual house prices increased 5.5% between the third quarter of last year and the comparative period this year.

Home prices rose 2.1% in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of this year, reflecting the reacceleration since June that has taken place following a period of softness in the market.

The report also showed prices rose moderately on a month-over-month basis, in line with recent trends. Prices were up 0.6% in September, compared with an upwardly revised 0.7% month-over-month increase in August.

The cost of mortgage loans fell last week to a two-month low after topping out at almost 8% in October, the highest level in more than 20 years. Despite the dip, housing inventory remains low, which has kept a floor under prices paid for properties.

The Federal Reserve kept its benchmark overnight lending rate unchanged earlier this month after raising its policy rate from the near-zero level in March 2022 to the 5.25%-5.50% range in July 2023.

Investors do not expect another rate increase and are currently forecasting a rate cut in May of next year, given the Fed has indicated it would raise interest rates again only if progress in controlling inflation faltered.

Annual house prices rose the most in the New England and Middle Atlantic regions in August, with gains of 11.4% and 8.3%, respectively, the FHFA data showed.

A separate report on Tuesday bolstered the view that the housing market is ramping up again, with the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index posting a 3.9% increase in September on an annual basis. That compared to a 2.5% rise in August.

Prices in Detroit accelerated the most on a city basis, overtaking Chicago, which had held the top spot for fourth straight months, the Case-Shiller data showed.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Paul Simao)