The Los Angeles and Orange County housing market was ranked as the fifth most stable in the United States, according to the latest “Goldilocks” index released by the mortgage issuer Freddie Mac.
The Multi-Indicator Market Index, or MiMi, uses real estate data and other economic indicators to rank state and regional housing markets on a scale of “too hot,” “too cold” and “just right.”
The L.A./O.C. metro area scored 97.1 out of 100 in December, with 100 representing an optimal, stable housing market. In 2005, the L.A./O.C. housing market was ranked above 140, or way “too hot.” In 2010, when the national real estate market was crashing, L.A./O.C.’s score fell to 56.1, or “too cold.”
Freddie Mac cited a healthy local job market for L.A./O.C.’s strong showing in the MiMi index. While employment growth pushed mortgage payment rates up and foreclosures down in Los Angeles and Orange counties, loan application rates were slightly lower in January compared to the previous year.
The only other metro areas in the United States with higher MiMi scores than L.A./O.C. were Austin, Denver, Honolulu and Salt Lake City.
Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, California ranked eighth with a score of 91.9. Here, too, gradually decreasing loan applications affected the score. The District of Columbia was ranked as the most stable housing market, followed by North Dakota, Hawaii, Montana and Utah.
Nationally, the MiMi index stood at 82.7 in December, a 7.65% increase over the previous year. The new MiMi release calms fears that the housing market is undergoing an unsustainable boom, and actually suggests that a cool-down could be coming.
According to other data, as well, the momentum that fueled the real estate market in 2015 does not seem to be not carrying into 2016. Data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development showed that single-family home sales in January fell 9.2% over December’s adjusted rate and 5.2% below the rate of sales in January of last year.
More recently, Mortgage Bankers Association Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 19 showed a 4.3% decrease in loan applications over the previous week, adjusted for the President’s Day weekend.
The slowdown has not yet affected Southern California, according to the MiMi index, at least. In the L.A./O.C. metro area, the MiMi index increased 0.52% over the last month and 2.53% over the last 3 months. Although because the MiMi index includes employment as well as real estate data, better job figures could obscure falling home sales.
The slowdown in sales is surprising. Mortgage interest rates plunged in February, despite the Fed’s modest rate increase in December. Mortgages are historically more affordable than ever, although the number of applicants is shrinking. Last year’s fierce bidding wars may be a thing of the past, making now the best time to buy a luxury home at an attractive price. Contact one of our real estate specialists to start your search for a luxury home that’s “just right.”
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(all data current as of 5/29/2017)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.