The health of Middle Tennessee's housing market continues to improve, according to research firm CoreLogic. At the end of May, just 0.38 percent of all homeowners were in foreclosure — compared to 0.56 percent statewide and 1.29 percent nationally — while the 90-day mortgage delinquency rate has dropped more than 40 basis points since the end of 2014.
The Middle Tennessee housing market continues to grow healthier, according to the Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market Index, which tracks transaction data as well as residents' incomes, mortgage applications and overall job growth. The measure ended May up more than 8 percent year over year, its fastest growth pace since last August and almost three points higher than in March. Nashville's MiMi reading is at its highest since January 2008.
Breaking down the latest MiMi reading — you can check it out here — the recent surge is mainly due to a big improvement in Nashville's job market. Mortgage applications and credit quality have been in good shape for a while, which leaves the index's payment-to-income ratio component as the only laggard. But it, too, is improving and has climbed four points to almost 73 in the past three months.
It's not so much a news flash as an affirmation of what a lot of us are seeing out and about every day: The Middle Tennessee area's housing market is growing stronger every month. Freddie Mac's Multi-Indicator Market Index rose to 87.4 in April and is now up almost 10 points from three months earlier. That's thanks largely to the region's strong job growth.
Freddie Mac's national report is here.
About 4.2 percent of Nashville-area homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth, according to real estate research firm CoreLogic. That March 31 number amounts to almost 14,900 homes but is down significantly from the 20,787 homes — or 5.9 percent of the total — that were in negative equity a year earlier. Another 1.5 percent of all homes are considered to be "near negative equity," down from 2.9 percent in early 2014.
Nationally, CoreLogic says 10.2 percent of homeowners with mortgages were underwater at the end of the first quarter. That was down from 12.9 percent the year before.
Of the more than 50 million residential properties with a mortgage, approximately 9.7 million, or 19.4 percent, have less than 20 percent equity (referred to as "under-equitied"), and 1.3 million, or 2.7 percent, have less than 5 percent equity (referred to as near-negative equity). Borrowers who are "under-equitied" may have a more difficult time refinancing their existing homes or obtaining new financing to sell and buy another home due to underwriting constraints. Borrowers with near-negative equity are considered at risk of moving into negative equity if home prices fall.
Here's an interesting stat from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
In its most recent release involving unemployment, the department lists the number of people for "available labor" — that is, discouraged workers, unemployed workers and the partially unemployed.
In only 13 of the state's 95 counties are there more available female workers than male. For employment in general, women (at least those who want a full-time job) seemingly are faring better than men in Tennessee.
Now as to wage equality related to gender...
So we can't point to the harsh winter weather anymore, right?
Year-over-year job growth in the Nashville MSA clocked in at 2.7 percent in April, in line with the previous two months. As far as we can tell, it's the first time in more than three years that Music City has put up three straight months of sub-3 percent growth. Smaller gains in construction didn't help, but that sector employs less than 40,000 of the region's almost 900,000 workers so it can't really have a big impact. Of bigger import has been the dropoff in growth in the business services and hospitality sectors, which combine to employ more than 240,000 people. On the plus side, manufacturing, retail and education/health are holding their own.
Research firm CoreLogic says Nashville-area home prices, including distressed sales, rose 7.1 percent year over year in March. Take out transactions involving distressed properties and the 12-month price rise drops only a bit to 6.5 percent.
CoreLogic's latest national data set is here. It shows Tennessee as one of seven states where home prices are at record highs.
It's not necessarily a surprise, but it is encouraging. Real estate research firm CoreLogic's latest numbers show that more and more Middle Tennessee homeowners are becoming current on their payments. The 2.71 percent delinquency rate for February was 70 basis points better than that of a year earlier and just about a full point below the number from October of 2013. That trend has had a positive effect on local banks' earnings and is showing little sign of slowing down.
So... This set of numbers showing Nashville job growth staying well under 3 percent for the second straight month was probably due to the weather, right? For the sake of It City, let's hope the late-winter snows are to blame. It's likely the weather is the cause of the construction sector's drop into single-digit growth for the first time since October. But a number of other sectors also were well off the pace they had set early this year. Come next month, they'll have to pick up the pace.
Middle Tennessee's housing market improved ever so slightly in February, according to a Freddie Mac index that incorporates a number of factors. But slight improvements mean the year-over-year comparisons are beginning to look rather less impressive than the 8 percent gains we were seeing late last year.
Nationally, 60 of the country's 100 largest metro markets are on the upswing. Check the details here.
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