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The price of houses across the U.S. moved slightly higher in the second quarter.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), its House Price Index (HPI) was up 1.2% from the first three months of the year, and 5.6% on a year-over-year basis.

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

A coming deceleration?

“Although the appreciation rate for the second quarter was of similar magnitude to what we’ve been seeing for several years now, a close look at the month-over-month price changes during the quarter reveals a potentially significant market shift,” said FHFA Supervisory Economist Andrew Leventis.

“Our monthly price index indicates that in each of the three months of the quarter, the increase was only 0.2 percent. This is a much more modest pace of appreciation than we’ve seen in some time and most likely reflects accumulated pressures from significantly reduced home affordability.”

Although the HPI was up 5.6% from the second quarter of 2015, prices of other goods and services were nearly unchanged. The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 5.7% over the last year.

Report highlights

  • Home prices rose in every state except Vermont from the second quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of 2016. The top five states in annual appreciation were: Oregon (+11.7%), Washington (+10.3%), Colorado (+10.2%), Florida (+10.0%), and Nevada (+9.6%).
  • Among the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., annual price increases were greatest in North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., where prices shot up 15.7%. Prices were weakest in Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., where they fell 3.3%.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the second quarter, posting a 1.9% quarterly increase and an 8.1% increase since the second quarter of last year. House price appreciation was weakest in the Middle Atlantic division, where prices inched up 0.6% from the last quarter.

The complete report is available on the FHFA website.

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Initial claims

First-time applications for state unemployment remain below 300,000 for a 77th consecutive week -- the longest streak since 1970.

The Department of Labor (DOL) reports initial jobless claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 261,000 in the week ending August 20, a decline of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised level.

The four-week moving average, considered a more accurate gauge of the labor market due to its lack of volatility, was down 1,250 from the week before to 264,000.

The full report may be found on the DOL website.

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