5 Important Things You Should Know About The Home Price Index

If you’re looking to purchase a home, you may want to consider buying a property in a neighborhood with increasing housing values. Alternatively, if you’re an investor, you might be interested in purchasing a property just before the housing values skyrocket. To aid in this decision-making process, you can use the Home Price Index (HPI), which tracks the fluctuations in housing values.

This tool is particularly useful for investors looking to buy properties, sell them, and generate a profit. However, it can also be beneficial for those who want to focus on neighborhoods where home values are generally on the rise. This is especially important if you hope to build equity in your property over time. This article highlights five essential things you should know about the HPI.

How Is The Home Price Index Used?

HPI can be used by buyers, sellers, and investors to analyze housing market trends and determine whether home values in different areas are increasing or decreasing over time. This information is beneficial for investors looking to make profitable investments in single-family homes by determining the optimal price and mortgage amount.

Sellers can use HPI data to set an appropriate listing price that maximizes profit but doesn’t discourage potential buyers. Homebuyers can also benefit from HPI data by analyzing home values in their desired neighborhoods to avoid overpaying for their new residence.

Additionally, the HPI provides a list of the largest cities and surrounding areas, enabling individuals to track housing market trends in specific locations. For investors seeking a profitable deal, they can identify cities where home values were previously decreasing but are now gradually increasing, providing an opportunity to purchase a property in a growing neighborhood before prices rise too high. As the property is renovated and values continue to rise, the investor may be able to sell the property for a higher price.

What Should You Do If The Home Price Index Drops?

It depends on your specific situation. As an investor, you may want to consider purchasing a property in a city where the HPI is decreasing, as you may be able to acquire it for a lower price. You could sell the property for a higher profit when home values rise again.

For buyers, purchasing a home in an area with a decreasing HPI may result in a lower purchase price. As a seller, it may be wise to hold onto your property until housing values begin to rise again in your neighborhood. However, it is essential to be cautious, as a falling HPI in your area does not necessarily mean the home you want to buy or sell is also losing value. Individual homes may appreciate in value even when the larger HPI is falling.

What Should You Do If The Home Price Index Rises?

Once again, whether you should buy or sell a property depends on your specific circumstances. If you are selling, listing your home when the HPI is increasing may result in a higher sale price. However, if you buy a home in a market with a rising HPI, you may have to pay more for the property.

It’s important not to make buying or selling decisions solely based on the direction of the HPI. Instead, make a move when it is the right time for you, considering all relevant factors, including your financial situation and personal preferences, rather than solely relying on HPI trends.

Here are the methods used to calculate home price index values:

Median Price Method Explained

One standard approach to calculating housing index values is using median house prices. This technique involves using the median or average selling prices of homes to determine the index value. Both the housing indexes from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census Bureau utilize the median price method. However, the primary limitation of the median price method is that it does not consider changes in values due to factors such as the size of homes that have been purchased and sold.

Repeat Sales Method

The Case-Shiller and Federal Housing Finance Authority housing indexes employ a repeat sales method to evaluate fluctuations in home values. This approach considers the sales prices of the same home that has been sold repeatedly. The changes in housing prices are calculated by comparing a home’s most recent selling price with its previous selling price.


Understanding the Home Price Index is essential as it can help you make informed decisions about buying, selling, or investing in real estate. With this knowledge, you can stay ahead of the curve and make smart choices in the real estate market.

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