RealtyTrac Intros Housing Market Recovery Index

RealtyTrac has introduced a new report measuring the housing market recovery by geographic area.

According to the firm's Housing Market Recovery Index, as of June, New York, southwest Florida and the Bay Area of northern California were leading the housing recovery, while markets in northern Maryland, southeast Pennsylvania and downstate Illinois were lagging the furthest behind.

The index uses seven different factors to arrive at its conclusions: unemployment rate, underwater loans percentage, foreclosure activity percent change from peak, distressed sales percent of total sales, institutional investors share of total sales, cash purchases share of total sales and median home price percent change from bottom. Those seven factors are indexed for each market with national averages as a baseline. In addition, all seven indexes are averaged to calculate a total recovery index.

In its inaugural report, RealtyTrac ranked 100 major U.S. metros – including the top 20 and the bottom 20 – however, the firm reports that it has data for more than 900 metro areas nationwide.

The top 20 metros leading the recovery, as of June, are as follows:

1. Rochester, N.Y.
2. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.
3. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.
4. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
5. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
6. Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.
7. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
8. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
9. Flint, Mich.
10. Oklahoma City, Okla.
11. Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C.
12. Tulsa, Okla.
13. Madison, Wis.
14. Boulder, Colo.
15. Reno-Sparks, Nev.
16. Pittsburgh, Pa.
17. Duluth, Minn.-Wisc.
18. Tucson, Ariz.
19. Spartanburg, S.C.
20. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.

The bottom 20 metros lagging behind in the recovery, as of June, are as follows:

1. Baltimore-Towson, Md. (lagging furthest behind)
2. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J.
3. Rockford, Ill.
4. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.
5. Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Md.-W.Va.
6. Colorado Springs, Colo.
7. Fresno, Calif.
8. Visalia-Porterville, Calif.
9. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, Fla.
10. Salem, Ore.
11. Tallahassee, Fla.
12. York-Hanover, Pa.
13. Wilmington, N.C.
14. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.
15. Ocala, Fla.
16. Lancaster, Pa.
17. Stockton, Calif.
18. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.
19. Mobile, Ala.
20. Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The report also details some of the other economic factors contributing to certain metro areas rising or falling in the rankings. For example, many of the markets that posted strong gains had below-average unemployment, increased home prices and a reduction in distressed sales, including foreclosures and short sales. In some areas, increased activity by institutional investors and cash sales were helping to drive the recovery.

‘The U.S. housing market has clearly shifted to recovery mode over the past 18 months, with home prices consistently rising and foreclosures falling closer to pre-housing bubble levels,’ says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. ‘Still symptoms of the distress that plagued the housing market over the past seven years continue to linger, particularly in the form of a high percentage of underwater borrowers and distressed sales. This lingering distress is creating an uneven pace of recovery across different local markets.’

‘Median home prices have bottomed and are now rising in all 100 ranked markets,’ Blomquist noted. ‘Likewise, foreclosure activity is past its peak in all 100 ranked markets – although foreclosure numbers have been rebounding recently in some areas where a more lengthy judicial process created a backlog of pent-up foreclosure activity.’

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