The Multi-Indicator Market Index Shows a Stabilizing Market
The Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) measures the stability of the national housing market by analyzing home-purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, local employment prospects, and the number of on- time mortgage payments. If a market experiences low buyer demand, it will fall outside its stable range, as will a market that overheats to an unsustainable degree of activity. In June, the national MiMi value reached 80.3, a 1.33 percent improvement from May and a 2.26 percent three-month improvement. Year over year, the MiMi has climbed 5.41 percent. While the MiMi is down from its all-time high of 121.7, it is still 35 percent higher than its all-time low in October 2010. What’s more, this is the first time since 2008 that the national MiMi has climbed over 80. With such positive numbers, economists with Freddie Mac have pegged June’s MiMi as being on its outer stable range. Out of all 50 states, 45 showed an improving three-month trend, as did 95 out of 100 metropolitan areas.
At the same time last year, only 33 states and 80 metro areas saw an improving three-month trend.
MiMi Predicts More Sales
According to Freddie Mac’s Deputy Chief Economist Len Keifer, MiMi indicators are “heading in the right direction.” Due to high demand from buyers, home sales are on track to make 2015 the best year since 2007. The MiMi purchase-application figures indicate that sales will continue to rise. The West is the hot spot of purchase-application activity, with many western states and metro areas posting double-digit growth when compared with 2014.
National Home Sales
July sales in the Northeast and Midwest, however, were slightly less favorable. In the Northeast, existing-home sales fell 2.8 percent, yet they are still 9.4 percent higher than July 2014. Sales in the Midwest saw no change from June’s annual rate of 1.32 million, but sales were 10.9 percent higher than a year ago. In the South, sales increased 4.1 percent month over month and 9.6 percent year over year. And in the West, existing-home sales climbed 3.2 percent from June and 11.3 percent from July 2014. Economists with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) believe the slowdown in the Northeast and Midwest was caused partially by declining affordability. Incomes in these areas are not rising in unison with home prices, leading many buyers to worry about being able to afford their homes. Low inventory also impacted sales.
Prices Rise and Loan Delinquency Decreases
While a negative for buyers, higher home prices are an advantage for homeowners. National home prices might be 7 percent lower than their peak values, but many markets are seeing their price indices reach all-time highs. In addition, loan delinquency is down. Distressed sales reached the lowest level since NAR began tracking the data in October 2008. Distressed sales dropped to 7 per- cent in July, down from 8 percent in June and 9 percent in July 2014. Five percent of those sales were foreclosures, and only 2 percent were short sales.