The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight comes out with honest to gawd housing appreciation data (not changes in median home prices) once a quarter. The new data, as always, is a must-scan for real estate geeks.

It shows appreciation from the 4th quarter of 2005 to the 4th quarter of 2006. Its rear view mirror gazing but the most accurate rear view mirror gazing yet.

Arizona did well in 2006 with 9.6% appreciation, the 9th highest state.

Most of that appreciation however was in the first half of 2006, inertia from the 2005 boom. In the 4th quarter of 2006, housing appreciation in Arizona was down to 1.0%. Not bad but certainly not hot.

Actually, 1.0% appreciation is a lot considering how soft the market felt to me last Fall. If Arizona can do 1% appreciation during that slow quarter, I should think 4% annual appreciation in Arizona in 2007 is not out of the realm of possibility.

Now looking at metropolitan statistical areas instead of states, the top and bottom 20 markets are below.

Notice that the top markets tend to be in the West and that the bottom markets are not dominated by those that had the greatest appreciation during the boom (California and Florida) but by markets with weak economies.

Real estate data geeks. The OFHEO appreciation data is based on changes in prices from home purchases AND home refinancings. The trend now is to focus more on price changes based only on home purchases. I think that a good idea.

You can see that the red line below, which includes refinancings, is much more variable. The variability tells us more about appraisers than home prices, I think.

The black line is appreciation calculated using only home purchase data.

(FYI: the above graphs use both purchases and refinancings in calculating appreciation. It seems OFHEO, however, is starting to shift toward emphasizing purchase-only appreciation.)

The next few quarters are going to be interesting! Arizona will likely do better than the United States as a whole, however.