Just 10 states have a ‘stable’ housing market, report finds

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Roofers work on new homes in Las Vegas, Nev., a state hard-hit by the great recession. (Reuters/Steve Marcus)

The housing markets in just 10 states and four of 50 metro areas are stable, according to a recent report.

The national housing market is also weak overall, according to the assessment by the mortgage giant Freddie Mac, but there are positive signs, too. Thirteen states and 20 metro areas had housing markets in March that were trending positively over a three-month period, according to the report from the quasi-governmental firm.

The firm assesses the housing markets using its Multi-Indicator Market Index — MiMi — score, which is based on four indicators. Freddie Mac considers home purchase applications; home purchasing power based on house prices, mortgage rates and household income; the rate of on-time mortgage payments in each market; and local employment. The score is used to compare each market’s current conditions to its long-term stable range.

The overall picture of the market is neither grim nor prosperous, Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement.

“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,” he said. “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.”

The 10 states on stable ground as of March are North Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Alaska, Montana, Hawaii, West Virginia, Texas, Vermont and South Dakota. Three four stable metro housing markets — San Antonio, Austin and Houston — are in Texas. The fourth is New Orleans. Washington, D.C., is also in its long-term stable range.


 

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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