The FINANCIAL -- Freddie Mac on February 24 released its Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi), showing the U.S. housing market continuing to improve with two additional states -- Florida and Arizona -- entering their outer range of stable housing activity. The MiMi purchase applications indicator improved by nine percent in 2015, its best showing since September 2013.
The national MiMi value stands at 82.7, indicating a housing market that is on its outer range of stable housing activity, while showing an improvement of +0.51 percent from November to December and a three-month improvement of +1.70 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the national MiMi value has improved +7.65 percent. Since its all-time low in October 2010, the national MiMi has rebounded 40 percent, but remains significantly off from its high of 121.7.
Thirty-five of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia have MiMi values in a stable range, with the District of Columbia (102.5), North Dakota (96.7), Hawaii (96.2), Montana (95.6) and Utah (94) ranking in the top five. Compared to the same time last year, 20 states and the District of Columbia had MiMi values in a stable range.
Fifty-six of the 100 metro areas have MiMi values in a stable range, with Austin, TX (98.8), Denver, CO (98.3), Honolulu, HI (98.2), Salt Lake City, UT (97.4) and Los Angeles, CA (97.2) ranking in the top five. Compared to the same time last year, 28 of the top 100 metros had MiMi values in a stable range.
The most improving states month over month were Oregon (+1.66%), New Jersey (+1.62%), Arizona (+1.39%), Florida (+1.39%) and Missouri (+1.25%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Florida (+16.59%), Oregon (+15.64%), Colorado (+14.09%), Washington (+12.58%) and Nevada (+12.54%).
The most improving metro areas month over month were Orlando, FL (+1.65%), Baton, Rouge, LA (+1.57%), Portland, OR (+1.52%), Palm Bay, FL (+1.48) and Tampa, FL (+1.40%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Orlando, FL (+20.33%), Cape Coral, FL (+19.16%), Tampa, FL (+18.51%), Portland, OR (+18.20%) and Denver, CO (+17.72).
In December, 45 of the 50 states and 86 of the top 100 metros were showing an improving three-month trend. The same time last year, 19 of the 50 states, and 49 of the top 100 metro areas were showing an improving three-month trend.
Quote attributable to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer:
"At the start of 2015, MiMi showed the national housing market in a weak position, but by the end of the year it posted a reading of 82.7, which is just inside the stable range of housing activity. This is good news for the nation's housing market but there is certainly more work to be done. One encouraging sign is that not only are purchase applications solidly up, but borrowers being current on their mortgage strongly improved in 2015 as well. The Current on Mortgage indicator also moved from a 'weak' to 'in-range' status in 2015. And of course what's really anchoring this recovering housing market is the improving employment picture, which is giving more people the confidence to purchase a home, including first-time homebuyers. In fact, Freddie Mac made home possible for more than 230,000 first-time homebuyers last year, the most since 2007."