The southern states showed the most improvement in terms of housing in May, according to Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicate Mortgage Index (MiMi).
The index, which was introduced last year, measures the overall strength of the housing market based on four indicators: purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios, percent of borrowers current on their mortgages and employment.
As of May, the national index value stood at 85, indicating a housing market that’s on the outer range of its historic benchmark level of housing activity.
The index increased 1.05% from April to May and increased 2.39% from February to May, according to Freddie Mac. On a year-over-year basis, it improved 7.30%.
Since its all-time low in October 2010, the national MiMi has rebounded 40% but remains significantly off from its high of 121.7.
States that saw the most improvement month over month in May were North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Mississippi and Maryland have reentered their historic benchmark levels of housing activity, according to the report.
As of the end of May, 38 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, had MiMi values within range of their benchmark averages, with Hawaii (97.8), Oregon (97.1), Utah (96.9), Montana (96.6) and Colorado (96.4) ranking in the top five.
“Nationally, MiMi in May registered 85, a 7.3 percent year-over-year increase and the 49th consecutive month of year-over-year increases,” says Len Kiefer, chief economist for Freddie Mac, in a statement. “Many of the western markets continue to see strong home sales. However, it’s the southern states where MiMi continues to register some of the strongest gains buoyed by an improving employment picture. For example, the majority of southern states showed stronger employment growth than the national average, and all of the eight markets in Florida that MiMi tracks are now back to their historic benchmark levels of housing activity.”