Housing Markets In Balance

January 15, 2002

Mortgage Insurer?s Market Index Dips To Lowest Point Since 1996

Inman News Features

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. today reported its national market trends index, a barometer of single-family residential real estate market conditions, was 6.9 in the fourth quarter of 2001 compared with 7.25 in the third quarter and 7.36 in 2000?s fourth quarter.

A reading of 1 indicates a weak market showing no signs of improvement while a reading of 10 indicates a strong market with no signs of deterioration. A reading of 7 indicates a stable market with no signs of imminent change.

The current reading is the lowest for the index since the first quarter of 1996 and just below the 10-year average of 6.97.

The index is based on lagging three-month market data from 73 metropolitan statistical areas.

MGIC Senior Market Analyst Neil Siegel said the index indicates housing conditions across the nation remain stable and the majority of the areas have a balance between home buyers and sellers. Evidence suggests most states are in or near recession but home prices are rising because the supply of homes on the market remains at an acceptable level in many of the areas, Siegel said.

"The nation has been in a recession since March, yet the average home price rose in all 50 states in the fourth quarter and increased at an annualized rate exceeding 5 percent in 47 states," said Siegel. "We don't foresee home price deterioration to be a factor in 2002, unless there is a deepening and extension of the recession beyond the mid-year recovery anticipated by most economists."

The information contained in the company?s report was obtained from Economy.com, the National Association of Realtors and other third-party sources.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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