Freddie Mac's new Multi-Indicator Market
Index (MiMi) continues to show a weak housing market overall. The national MiMi value is flat compared to
last month and has improved only slightly year-over- year.
MiMi monitors and measures the
stability of the nation's housing market, as well as the housing markets of all
50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 50 metro markets. MiMi
combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to assess
where each single-family housing market is relative to its own long-term stable
range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, proportion
of on time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture.
These indicators are combined into a composite
MiMi value for each market. The MiMi value ranges between -12 and 12 and
helps determine if a housing market is Weak, In Range, or Elevated relative to
its own stable range of housing activity and whether the market is trending
toward or away from that range A market can fall outside its stable range by
being too weak to generate enough demand for a well-balanced housing market or
by overheating to an unsustainable level of activity.
MiMi for March stands at -3.06 point, a 0.03 point improvement from February. The
three month trend for March is +0.05.
That value must move by at least
one-tenth of a point or the associated directional trend for that market's
three month period is considered flat.
On a year-over-year basis, the U.S.
housing market has improved by 0.66 points. The nation's all-time MiMi low of
-4.49 was in November 2010 when the housing market was at its weakest.
Most of the states and metro areas are
called "weak and flat" or "weak and declining" in the MiMi narrative. Ten of the 50 states and the District of
Columbia are in their stable range as are four of the 50 metro areas. The top five states are North Dakota, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and
Louisiana, all unchanged from last month and the four metros are San Antonio,
New Orleans, Austin, and Houston.
states that were most improved from February to March were Ohio, Rhode Island,
Illinois, Texas, and South Carolina while those that improved the most from
March 2013 were Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, California, and Texas. Improved metros on a month-over-month basis
were Cincinnati, Columbus, Houston, Riverside, and San Antonio while year over
year they were Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Tampa, and Riverside. Freddie Mac
notes that most of the markets that are improving or in a stable range are
areas currently in the midst of an energy boom.
in March, 13 of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia are improving based
on their three month trend, and 20 of the 50 metros show an improving trend.
Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank
Nothaft said, "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. 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. House price gains are a double-edged sword at this stage of the
recovery. They help those hard-hit markets where prices are still low and many
homeowners are underwater, but in areas where supply is constrained, they're
creating an imbalance and pricing out many first-time homebuyers."
The National Mimi and interactive
indices for each of the states and metro areas can be accessed at http://www.freddiemac.com/mimi/.