by Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

House prices rose 1.3% nationally in the third quarter according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index released November 25. This was the 17th consecutive quarterly increase both for the U.S. and for Arizona in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index. Arizona moved back up into the top ten states for house price appreciation during the third quarter, where it ranked 7th with an 8.3% increase in house prices over the year. The state was ranked 12th in the second quarter of the year. The FHFA report includes metropolitan area data using the All-transactions House Price Index, which includes purchases and refinance mortgages. The one-year change in house prices for Arizona metros in the third quarter: Lake Havasu City-Kingman (9.2%), Prescott (8.6%), Flagstaff (8.6%), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (8.5%), Yuma (4.8%), Sierra Vista-Douglas (2.1%), and Tucson (1.8%).

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for September 2015 were released November 24. Phoenix home prices rose 5.3% over the year in September, higher than the U.S. national figure of 4.9%. Of the 20-city composite, San Francisco had the highest annual appreciation for the month with 11.2% while Chicago had the lowest at 1.1%.

The Gross Domestic Product increased at an annual rate of 2.1% in the third quarter, according to the second estimate released November 24 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This was an upward revision from the advance estimate of 1.5%, but still lower than the 3.9% increase in real GDP in the second quarter.

There were 3,674 initial unemployment claims in Arizona for the week ending November 14, down 561 from the week prior. The four-week moving average was fairly steady at 3,870 compared to 3,889 the week before. Nationally, filings for unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 for the week ending November 21. The four-week average was 271,000.  

Arizona employment rose 2.3% over the year in October. This was better than the 1.9% job growth reported for the U.S.  The unemployment rate dropped to 6.1% for the state. Sectors leading job growth in Arizona were education & health services and professional & business services, both with more than 11% gains over the year. Job gains were not equally distributed throughout the state. Over the year job changes for Arizona metros: Phoenix, 2.6%; Prescott, 2.3%; Tucson, 2.0%; Flagstaff, 1.7%; Yuma, 0.0%; Sierra Vista-Douglas, -0.9%; and Lake Havasu City-Kingman, -1.9%. 

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released small area personal income data on November 19. Using population estimates from the Arizona Department of Administration, Arizona per capita personal income was 38,261 in 2014. Look for more detailed information on the personal income release to come.


Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.
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