A historical analysis of the foreclosure housing market by RealtyTrac revealed that 96 percent of United States county real estate markets are better off in 2014 than at the height of the foreclosure crisis 4 years ago. The study found that 80 percent of markets were also better off than in 2012, and 30 percent of markets were better than 2008. The analysis looked at four key categories of housing market health: home price appreciation, affordability, percentage of REO sales, and the unemployment rate.
Each county was assigned a rank between 1 and 2.5 for each category, and the category rankings were summed for a maximum possible score of 10. Counties with the largest improvement in index from the height of the foreclosure crisis were Alameda County in California; Marion County in Indiana, and Sonoma County in California. Counties with the least amount of change actually posted negative returns. Monroe County in New York, Arlington County in Virginia, and Yuma County in Arizona each dropped by negative point-5, revealing the 2014 housing market was actually worse than in 2010.
Following a slowdown in activity over the previous two quarters, Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group expects economic activity to pick up in the second quarter of this year, bolstered by increases in the housing sector, consumer spending, and business investment. Fannie Mae expects economic growth in the first quarter be 2 percent, and yearly growth is expected to be 2.7 percent. Housing starts are expected to increase almost 20 percent to 1.1 million, with a median new home price of $281,000.