Only 2 in 5 Housing Markets are Improving -Freddie Mac
THIS IS AN INTERESTING POINT OF VIEW SINCE MOST OTHER PUBLICATIONS ARE GLOWING
“According to Freddie Mac’s new Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) continues to show a weak housing market overall. The national MiMi value is flat compared to last month and has improved only slightly year-over- year.
MiMi 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. It combines Freddie Mac data with current local market data to determin where each single-family housing market is relative to its own long-term range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, proportion of on time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture.
These indicators are combined into a composite MiMi value for each market. The MiMi value ranges between -12 and 12 and helps determine if a housing market is Weak, In Range, or Elevated relative to its own stable range of housing activity and whether the market is trending toward or away from that 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.
The MiMi for March stands at -3.06 point, a 0.03 point improvement from February. The three month trend for March is +0.05. That value must move by at least one-tenth of a point or the associated directional trend for that market’s three month period is considered flat.
On a year-over-year basis, the U.S. housing market has improved by 0.66 points. The nation’s all-time MiMi low of -4.49 was in November 2010 when the housing market was at its weakest.
Most of the states and metro areas are called “weak and flat” or “weak and declining” in the MiMi narrative. Ten of the 50 states and the District of Columbia are in their stable range as are four of the 50 metro areas. The top five states are North Dakota, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Louisiana, all unchanged from last month and the four metros are San Antonio, New Orleans, Austin, and Houston.
The states that were most improved from February to March were Ohio, Rhode Island, Illinois, Texas, and South Carolina while those that improved the most from March 2013 were Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, California, and Texas. Improved metros on a month-over-month basis were Cincinnati, Columbus, Houston, Riverside, and San Antonio while year over year they were Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Tampa, and Riverside. Freddie Mac notes that most of the markets that are improving or in a stable range are areas currently in the midst of an energy boom.
Overall, in March, 13 of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia are improving based on their three month trend, and 20 of the 50 metros show an improving trend.
Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said, “Less than half of the housing markets MiMi covers are showing an improving trend, whereas at this same time last year more than 90 percent of these same markets were headed in the right direction. We’re hopeful that many of these markets that have stalled will start moving again now that mortgage rates have eased over the past month and the spring home buying season is upon us. House price gains are a double-edged sword at this stage of the recovery. They help those hard-hit markets where prices are still low and many homeowners are underwater, but in areas where supply is constrained, they’re creating an imbalance and pricing out many first-time homebuyers.”
The National Mimi and interactive indices for each of the states and metro areas can be accessed athttp://www.freddiemac.com/mimi/.