Freddie Mac has released its Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) showing mixed signals for the U.S. housing market. Most markets remain weak, despite declining mortgage delinquencies, improving local employment, house price gains and attractive mortgage rates due to weak home purchase mortgage applications.
The national MiMi value stands at -3.01 points indicating a weak housing market overall with only a slight improvement (+0.05 points) from March to April and a three month trend change of (+0.07 points), which is considered flat. However, on a year-over-year basis, the U.S. housing market has improved by 0.65 points. The nation's all-time MiMi low of -4.49 was in November 2010 when the housing market was at its weakest.
Ten of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia are in their stable range with North Dakota, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Louisiana and Alaska ranking in the top five with the latter two states trading places.
Four of the 50 metro areas are in their stable range, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and New Orleans. Houston advanced two spots, New Orleans declined two. Texas metro areas now hold the top three spots.
"With the latest release of MiMi we're seeing very slow improvement on the housing front with most markets still trying to move beyond stall speed," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac Chief Economist. "The MiMi indicators that are improving across the board show the local jobs picture getting better and seriously delinquent rates continuing to come down."
The five most improving states month-over-month were Illinois (+0.12), Nevada (+0.12) and Tennessee (+0.12), with Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas all tied (+0.09). From one year ago the most improving states remained unchanged: Florida (+1.73), Nevada (+1.52), Texas (+0.98), South Carolina (+0.95) and California (+0.89). Texas moved up to the third most improving state from fifth place.
The five most improving metro areas month-over-month are Las Vegas (+0.13), Providence (+0.13), Buffalo (+0.12) and Chicago (+0.11), while Houston, Memphis, Nashville and San Antonio all tied (+0.10). From one year ago the most improving metros remained unchanged: Miami (+2.25), Orlando (+1.75), Las Vegas (+1.60), Tampa (+1.46), and Riverside (+1.31).
In April, 14 of the 50 states and 21 of the 50 metros are showing an improving three month trend. The same time last year, 42 states plus the District of Columbia, and 44 metros were showing an improving three month trend.
"Both indicators are critical to decreasing distress in local markets, but that's also putting more pressure on markets with thinning inventory, especially where short sales have fallen off dramatically," said Nothaft. "However, as you look at each of the individual markets MiMi tracks, they have their own unique dynamics and show housing markets recovering at different paces."