Freddie Mac’s new Multi-Indicator Market Index measures the stability of the nation’s housing market based on home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, proportion of on-time mortgage payments, and the local employment picture. Based on these components, the Index determines how each market is trending and whether it’s becoming more or less stable. Overall, the housing market is in better shape than it has been at any point since the beginning of the Great Recession.
Since June 2009, for example, home sales are up 13 percent, housing starts are up 55 percent, serious delinquencies are down 32 percent, and the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.5 percent to 6.7 percent. Still, there is room for improvement. Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist, said – in many markets – a better employment picture, along with some income growth, makes it possible for people considering buying a home to stay within reasonable payment-to-income ratios.
But, according to Kiefer, some high-cost markets are starting to feel an affordability pinch. Of the 50 states included in the Index, 25 plus the District of Columbia are improving based on three-month trends. Among the 50 metropolitan areas included, 35 are improving. Freddie Mac expects more markets to move closer to their long-term stable range as we enter the spring home buying season. More here.