What is the House Price Index (HPI)?

The House Price Index (HPI) tracks average prices of homes using data from sales and refinancing, tracking the data for the same residential properties over many years.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) publishes it quarterly and relies on data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The HPI is an important index for the real estate and mortgage industry, as well as the economy as a whole.

It uses information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about home sale prices and the refinancing value of homes, tracking the sales and refinancing prices of homes in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac databases, all the way back to 1978. They do this using a weighted repeat-sales method. It is published quarterly by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Two other housing indexes are popular in the United States: the Case-Shiller Index and the FNC Residential Price Index. The S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index resembles the HPI, and it can take “jumbo” mortgages into account, which are not part of the Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac database.

Unlike the HPI, however, it does not account for refinancing activity. Case-Shiller is published on a monthly basis, so at times it will be more current than the HPI, but it still lags the actual industry data by about 2 months.

The FNC Residential Price Index is the most current of the three, and it uses current appraisals and sales prices for each area.