House prices in the Morgantown area rose strongly again in the first quarter of 2005, according to the July edition of the Morgantown MSA Economic Monitor, published by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia Universitys College of Business and Economics.

Even with the strong house price appreciation over the last three years, Morgantown did not qualify as a booming housing market according to a study recently completed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.,said George Hammond, research assistant professor in the college. The Washington, D.C., and Winchester, Va., metropolitan areas did qualify as boom markets according to the study.

House price appreciation in the Morgantown market has been strong lately, but with falling mortgage rates, housing affordability has probably not significantly eroded,Hammond said.With strong population and overall economic growth expected to continue, the Morgantown MSA housing market is expected to remain robust in the near future.

On an annualized basis, single-family house prices in the Morgantown MSA (Monongalia and Preston counties) jumped by 9.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to new data released by the Office of Federal Home Enterprise Oversight.

In the first quarter, Morgantown house price appreciation beat the national rate of 9.1 percent and far exceeded the state rate of 4.3 percent,Hammond said .

The Morgantown MSA Monitor is published quarterly by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research with sponsorship from Bruceton Bank. It is available free at