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4 Key Indicators to Watch for a Full Housing Recorvery

Economist have pointed to four positive indicators that are necessary in order to have a fully recovered housing market::

1. A healthy job market with low stable unemployment;

2. Mortgage delinquencies that have returned to historical averages;

3. Home prices consistent with an affordable mortgage payment–to–income ratio; and

4. Home sales that are in the range of historical norms.

So, is the housing market improving?

Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for January takes a look at how the housing market is performing among these four indicators. Economists note that the unemployment rate — while inching down — still remains high at 6.7 percent. Meanwhile, mortgage delinquencies have fallen to 5.88 percent — nearly half of their peak rate but still higher than the national average of about 2 percent, Freddie notes.

Home prices still have some room to grow without outpacing income growth, economists say.

“From 1999–2006, mortgage payments on a hypothetical 30-year fixed-rate mortgage would have increased by 50 percent more than income growth,” Freddie Mac notes in the report. “Currently, payment-to-income ratios are only 60 percent of the level we had in 1999, suggesting room for continued housing growth.”

Finally, home sales have risen over the past two years but remain below levels from a nearly a decade ago. Home sales, historically, average a rate of about 6 percent of the housing stock every year. They dropped to 4 percent during the housing crisis. Economists are predicting a 5.7 percent pace in 2014.

“As we start 2014, the housing recovery continues its steady pace,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “House-price gains will likely moderate from last year’s pace but rise about 5 percent in national indexes. Home sales, as well as other key indicators, continue to trend in the right direction, although in some markets we are seeing the sales recovery strengthen while many others remain weak.”

Source: Freddie Mac and “Are We There Yet? Freddie Mac Says Recovery Has a Ways to Go,” Mortgage News Daily (Jan. 16, 2014), Realtor Magazine Daily News Report (January 17, 2014)

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Paul Rosso

Trusted Real Estate Adviser at RE/MAX Properties, Ltd
Paul has been selling real estate for over 30 years.. He has consistently been a top producer and has helped hundreds of families sell and buy homes in the area. Paul has achieved the prestigious RE/MAX Home Of Fame designation, the highest award given by RE/MAX. The award is given to those agents who have consistently produced the highest level of sales production and is awarded to less than 1% of all the agents in the world.

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