U.S. Housing Market Stalled as Price Gains in Some Areas Hurting First-Time Buyers

Less than half of the U.S. housing markets tracked by Freddie Mac are showing improvements, while more than 90 percent of the same markets were doing so at this same time last year.
Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index found the overall market “largely flat” this month compared to last month.

“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,” said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft.
Home price gains are “a double-edged sword at this stage of the recovery,” he added.
Price increases help those hard-hit markets where prices are still low and many homeowners are underwater. However, in areas where supply is constrained, they’re creating an imbalance and pricing out many first-time homebuyers, he said.
The national MiMi value stands at -3.06 points, indicating a weak housing market overall with only a slight improvement (+0.03 points) from February to March, and a 3-month flat trend (+0.05 points).
However, 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.
The five most improving states month-over-month are Ohio (+0.12), Rhode Island (+0.11), Illinois (+0.10), Texas (+0.10) and South Carolina (+0.09). From one year ago the most improving states remained unchanged: Florida (+1.83), Nevada (+1.60), South Carolina (+0.99), California (+0.97) and Texas (+0.96).
The five most improving metro areas month-over-month are Cincinnati (+0.11), Columbus (+0.11), Houston (+0.10), Riverside (+0.10), and San Antonio (+0.10). From one year ago the most improving metros remained unchanged: Miami (+2.37), Orlando (+1.91), Las Vegas (+1.71), Tampa (+1.57), and Riverside (+1.44).

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