Housing Markets Improve in Majority of States

April 24, 2014

More than half of U.S. states — as well as more than half of the top 50 metros in the country — saw their housing markets improve in February, according to Freddie Mac's Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), which measures the stability of the nation's housing markets.

Still, the overall housing market is recovering at a slightly slower pace compared to January. The national MiMi value in February stood at -3.11 points, which indicates a weak housing market. But it's an improvement by 0.67 points year-over-year. The nation's all-time MiMi low of -4.49 was in November 2010, a point when the housing market was at its weakest, according to the index.

"Despite a slowdown over the winter months, the housing market continues to show improvement in most states, although at a somewhat slower pace,” says Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. “And while not all the MiMi indicators are trending in a better direction — in particular, home-purchase applications have weakened in many areas — gains in local employment and loan performance have really helped many markets across the country, especially those that were hardest hit. Outside of these areas, we also are seeing positive improvement from the Carolinas and Tennessee as their local unemployment rates fall further."

Eleven of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, are in their stable range of housing activity, according to the index. The top five most stable states are: North Dakota, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Louisiana.

Four of the 50 metro areas have housing markets in the stable range: San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, and Austin, Texas.

According to the index, the five most-improved states month-over-month in February were:

  • South Carolina
  • Louisiana
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Nevada       

Freddie’s MiMi index, which debuted last month, uses information on local markets to calculate the range of equilibrium for single-family markets and provide indicators and trends for where each market stands relative to its stable range. The index draws from four indicators, using the long-term stable ranges for home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (which measures changes in home purchasing power), portion of on-time mortgage payments, and the state of local employment.

Source: Freddie Mac

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