Housing Recovery Takes Hold Nationwide

Nearly every single housing market analyzed by housing data source RealtyTrac is better off today compared to four years ago when the foreclosure crisis peaked.

Out of 410 U.S. counties included in RealtyTrac’s report, 96% have improved since 2010, when median home prices hit their trough. 

“The housing recovery has taken root in hundreds of counties across the country and almost all local housing markets are better off than they were four years ago when foreclosure activity peaked in 2010, with more than 1 million homes lost to foreclosure in that year alone,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, of the analysis. 

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To determine housing market health, RealtyTrac’s analysis considered four categories: home price appreciation, affordability, percentage of bank-owned (REO) sales, and the unemployment rate. The 410 counties in the report account for 63% of the U.S. population. 

There’s still room for improvement, however. When comparing the housing market’s health against 2006 prior to the housing bubble bursting, only 8% of county housing markets are better off. 

“Home prices in three-fourths of the counties analyzed are still below 2006 levels, but low inventory has helped home prices accelerate past pre-recession levels in some markets like Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and Oklahoma City,” Blomquist noted. “Those rapid home price gains are causing a concerning drop in affordability rates in some cities, but homebuilders and homeowners with regained equity should help provide more supply to balance out many of those markets in 2014.”

Still, hard-hit markets including Stockton, Calif., Las Vegas, and Lansing, Mich. saw REO sales drop by at least half in 2013. In many other counties, home prices continue to appreciate.

Check out RealtyTrac’s heat map charting the fall and rise of the housing market throughout the past eight years.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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  • The reasoning expressed in the article refutes much of the reasoning we have heard in the industry as to the cause in falling endorsements after 2010. Too many times the reason we heard was that home values were continuing to drop. While we know that was true in some parts of the country, it was not true in most.

    There is a huge difference between excuses and reasons. When historical information does match perceptions we hear that numbers lie. Excuses are cheaper than a dime a dozen but actual reasons are hard to find. No more should we accept that falling home values was the principal reason for falling endorsement numbers on a national level after 2010.

    We need answers for the drop not less than reasoned guesses. For several of us, the drops have much to do with the loss of the largest lenders in the industry and lender emphasis on attempting to snatch the market share that these large lenders were leaving behind. It seemed that was little emphasis on growing the market as a whole. Despite what many have stated, a very significant part of the loss in endorsements has to do with the lack of brick and mortar lender locations as was true with Wells Fargo and Bank of America. As an industry we have yet to replace that particular means of marketing and advertising.

    (The opinions expressed in this comment are not necessarily those of RMS or its affiliates.)

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