Freddie Mac's Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) for February shows that the U.S. housing market continues to stabilize and has recovered from a slight stumble - what Freddie Mac had called "the winter doldrums" - in January.  The MiMi tracks the top 100 housing markets in the country and 60 percent are now showing an improving three-month trend.

The national MiMi increased 0.65 percent from January to February to 74.7, a three month gain of 0.30 percent, indicating a weak but improving housing market. On a year-over-year basis the national value has improved 3.53 percent.  The nation's all-time MiMi high of 121.7 was April 2006 and the national value has rebounded 31 percent since hitting its low of 57.4 in October 2010.

Twenty-three states and 64 metro areas showed an improving three month trend in February compared to 46 states plus Washington DC and 92 metro areas that were showing improvement on that basis in March 2014.  

Fourteen of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia have MiMi values in a stable range and 18 of the metro areas.  The top five states and jurisdictions are North Dakota (95.7), the District of Columbia (94.8), Hawaii (90.7), Montana (89.2), and Wyoming (85.7).  The highest metro areas are Honolulu (91.8), Fresno (90.0), Austin (87.4), McAllen, TX (85.9), and Los Angeles (85.5.)

The state that improved the most on a monthly basis was Oregon, up 2.19 percent followed by Michigan, Florida, California and Kentucky.  On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Nevada (+11.40 percent), Colorado (+9.60 percent), Florida (9.14 percent), Oregon (+8.31percent), and Rhode Island (+7.97 percent).

Detroit, Fresno, and Portland, Oregon showed the greatest month-over-month improvement at 2.49, 2.16, and 2.09 percent respectively.  On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Stockton (14.15 percent), Las Vegas (12.28 percent), Denver (11.62 percent), Palm Bay, FL (11.11 percent) and Detroit (10.94 percent).

Freddie Mac's Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer said, "By adding an additional 50 metro markets to the monthly MiMi we are able to capture greater insights into what's moving local housing markets heading into the spring homebuying season. The good news is after a slight stumble last month, nearly 60 percent of all markets are improving. Also, of the top 100 metro areas, over 60 are showing purchase applications up from the same time last year with over 20 of those metro areas showing double-digit percentage increases."

"Likewise, the employment picture continues to improve in most markets helping to support greater interest in purchasing a home. For example, in markets like Fresno, California, Provo, Utah, and Portland, Oregon, the employment picture continues to improve, homebuyer affordability is also strong, and we're seeing purchase applications up nearly 20 percent compared to the same time last year. Even in markets like Seattle where the inventory of for-sale homes is low and affordability is being challenged, we're still seeing a slight pickup in purchase applications over the past three months. However, we are beginning to see flat to slowing purchase applications in those energy states being affected by lower oil prices."