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Freddie Mac: Housing Market Continues to Stabilize

Dec 01, 2014

Freddie Mac has released its newly updated Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to stabilize as nearly half of the markets tracked are now showing positive momentum.

The national MiMi value currently stands at 74.4, indicating a weak housing market overall but showing a slight improvement (+0.51 percent) from August to September and a narrowing three-month decline of (-0.14 percent). On a year-over-year basis, the U.S. housing market has improved (+3.68 percent). The nation's all-time MiMi high of 121.9 was June 2008; its low was 59.8 in September of 2011, when the housing market was at its weakest. Since that time, the housing market has made a 24.4 percent rebound.

Fourteen of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have MiMi values in a stable range, with North Dakota (96.5) the District of Columbia (94.3), Wyoming (91.1), Montana (91.0) and Hawaii (89.3) ranking in the top five.

Six of the 50 metro areas have MiMi values in a stable range, with San Antonio (91.3), Austin (87.6), Salt Lake City (84.4), Houston (84.0), and Los Angeles (83.5) ranking in the top five.

"Following a similar trend from last month more states and metros continued to show improvement from the very slow summer months," Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer said. "We've also seen California return to what would historically be its stable range of housing activity, the first time since September 2008. However, at that time the state's housing market was heading in the wrong direction. And even while the state has made a strong comeback, we already see one of its four indicators elevated and showing that the typical family continues to have to stretch to buy a median priced house, especially in the Los Angeles metro area. That said, far fewer homeowners are delinquent on their homes, the employment situation continues to improve and even purchase applications are beginning to turn around."

The most improving states month-over-month were Nevada (+2.06 percent), Colorado (+2.04 percent), Florida (+1.38 percent), Alabama (+1.29 percent) and Kentucky (+1.10 percent). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Nevada (+18.95 percent), Illinois (+10.52 percent), Florida (+8.57 percent), Rhode Island (7.44 percent) and Ohio (+7.10 percent).

The most improving metro areas month-over-month were Denver (+2.44 percent), Las Vegas (+2.27 percent), Miami (+1.60 percent), Orlando (+1.54 percent) and Birmingham (+1.19 percent). On a year-over-year basis the most improving metro areas were Las Vegas (+20.98 percent), Chicago (+13.81 percent), Miami, (+10.95 percent), Riverside (+10.38 percent) and Denver (+8.61 percent).

In September, 21 of the 50 states and 21of the 50 metros were showing an improving three-month trend. The same time last year, every state plus the District of Columbia, and 49 of the top 50 metro areas were showing an improving three month trend.

MiMi monitors and measures the stability of the nation's housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 50 metro markets. MiMi combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to assess where each single-family housing market is relative to its own long-term stable range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on house prices, mortgage rates and household income), proportion of on-time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture. The four indicators are combined to create a composite MiMi value for each market. Monthly, MiMi uses this data to show, at a glance, where each market stands relative to its own stable range of housing activity. MiMi also indicates how each market is trending, whether it is moving closer to, or further away from, its stable range. A market can fall outside its stable range by being too weak to generate enough demand for a well-balanced housing market or by overheating to an unsustainable level of activity.


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