Housing and economic activity has returned to or exceeded normal levels in 68 of about 360 metropolitan areas in the country as of the end of Q1 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index released Wednesday. The 68 markets represent a year-over-year increase of seven markets. The score for the nationwide index increased to zero point 91, meaning that housing and economic activity is running at 91 percent on the average nationwide based on the most current data for the three leading indicators: single-family housing permits, home prices, and employment.
The markets with the strongest recovery are those with the strongest employment growth and vice versa, according to the LMI. Among major metros, the area with the highest rating on the LMI was Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at 1.43, meaning that area has exceeded its last normal level by 43 percent. About 68 percent of the nation's approximately 360 markets improved year-over-year in Q1. The number of markets for the Q1 LMI with a value exceeding 90 percent was 157 out of 360.
The residential mortgage delinquency rate dropped to 5.54 percent for Q1 2015, its lowest level since Q2 2007 just prior to the recession, according to the quarterly National Delinquency Survey released by the Mortgage Bankers Association on Wednesday. The Q1 decline in delinquency rate represented a drop of 14 basis points quarter-over-quarter and 57 basis points year-over-year. Foreclosure inventory was at 2.22 percent for Q1, its lowest level since Q4 2007.