Freddie's Index Shows Housing Market Improvement Still Weak

Freddie Mac's Multi-Indicator Market Index shows ongoing U.S. housing market improvement is uneven despite employment gains in areas with stronger economies.

In June, the newly updated national index was at 73.7, up 7.67% from a year earlier, yet merely 0.04% higher month-over-month, and 0.16% up compared to three months earlier.

Freddie's Multi-Indicator Market Index measured on a scale of zero (weak) to 200 (elevated) is calculated as the average of purchase applications, payment-to-income data, current mortgage loans and employment. The strongest of these four indicators was employment, at 94, up 16.62% from a year earlier consistently increasing both on a monthly and quarterly basis.

The "current on mortgage" indicator also improved progressively to 66.2, up 14.5% compared to June 2013 and 1.13% higher than during the previous month.

At 65.6, purchase applications were the weakest, down by 5.41% year-over-year and by 1.22% month-over-month. The payment-to-income indicator was 69.2, up 6.72% compared to a year earlier, but down 0.49% on a monthly basis.

These changes suggest that the job market is not strong enough to help boost new mortgage originations. The index affirms that while stronger local economies with favorable demographics keep improving "at a much stronger pace," most markets remain "generally weak," according to the report.

The most improved states were Nevada, Illinois, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Colorado and Kentucky. Las Vegas leads the most improved metro area ranking, followed by Riverside and San Jose, Calif., Chicago and Miami.

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