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Freddie Mac: ‘Vast Majority’ of Housing Markets Still Trying to Get Back to ‘Normal’

home-protection [1]Freddie Mac [2]’s Multi-Indicator Market Index [3] (MiMi) for October 2015 released this week remained in the outer range of stable and continues to slowly improve, but an economist from the GSE says the “vast majority” of housing markets are still trying to return to their long-term “benchmark normal” range.

The national MiMi, which monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market and the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 100 metro areas, had a value of 81.3 as of the end of September, placing it in the low range of stable. It was still an improvement of 0.67 percentage points from August to September, a three-month improvement of 1.85 percentage points, and a year-over-year climb of 5.79 percentage points.

September’s national MiMi value of 81.3 is 37 percent higher than its all-time low of 52.7 from October 2010, but still significantly lower than its all-time high of 121.7 set in April 2006 prior to the recession.

Thirty states plus the District of Columbia had MiMis in the stable range in September 2015, compared with 19 states plus D.C. in September 2014. D.C. had the highest MiMi value in September 2015, at 100; the state with the highest MiMi value was North Dakota at 95.3.

The top 100 metros likewise showed improvement. In September 2015, 50 of the nation’s top 100 metros posted MiMi values in the stable range, led by Fresno at 100.2. By comparison, only 30 of the top 100 metros had MiMi values in the stable range, according to Freddie Mac.

11-25 MiMi Graph [4]Despite the increased number of states and metros that were deemed to have stable housing markets in September 2015, there is still much work to be done, according to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer.

“When we observe MiMi's annual improvement, it's clear housing markets continue to recover with some markets firing on all cylinders, others inching along, and the vast majority still working to get back to their long-term benchmark normal range,” Kiefer said. “Regardless, nearly twice as many states and metro areas have entered their stable range of housing activity compared to a year ago. Western markets show little signs of slowing down with their local employment pictures continuing to improve and with applications to purchase a home still showing double-digit growth on an annual basis. In many Southern metro areas home sales are improving, which is good news, but their levels still remain depressed.”