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65% of Housing Markets Worse Than Four Years Ago

Sixty-five percent of U.S. housing markets are worse off today than they were four years ago according to the California-based real estate research firm RealtyTrac.

The results of the survey arrive the same day as the final presidential debate and just weeks before the general election.

RealtyTrac measured five key housing metrics in 919 U.S. counties and discovered the majority are still suffering from falling average home prices, unemployment, and higher foreclosure inventories, foreclosure starts and distressed sales.  Of those counties studied, 580 (or 65%) showed results in three of the five metrics as being worse off when compared to 2008 levels.  Only 315 (or 35%) of the counties had three of five housing metrics with improved performance the previous four years time.

“The U.S. housing market has shown strong signs of life in recent months, but many local markets continue to struggle with high levels of negative equity as the result of home prices that are well off their peaks.  In addition, persistently high unemployment rates are hobbling a robust real estate recovery in most areas,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s VP.

“While the worst of the foreclosure problem is in the rear-view mirror for a narrow majority of counties, others are still working through rising levels of foreclosure activity, inventory and distressed sales as they continue to clear the wreckage left by a bursting housing bubble.”

In the majority of the counties studied, home prices are down and unemployment rates are up in more than 90% of the areas.  More than half have smaller foreclosure inventories and fewer foreclosure starts than in 2008, while distressed properties make up a smaller share of overall residential sales when compared to four years ago.

The good news for real estate investors is that the window of opportunity is still wide open to pick up some great deals in rental property.  We still have a “perfect storm” of low rates, low purchase prices, high rent-to-value ratios, and a growing pool of tenant renters.  Don’t try to time the market.  There are plenty of great turnkey rental properties available today to add to your real estate portfolio.

Where do you think the housing market is headed over the next four years?


  1. Comment by Jason
    October 29th at 11:28 am 

    Of course the other side of that equation is that an overwhelming majority of housing markets are higher than last year and the year before, which of course means that things are improving. It sometimes seems like everyone thinks problems can be solved in a couple of years that took way longer to occur and get deeply entrenched. We can say that we’re doing better now in Arizona and Texas and that’s a good thing no matter how anyone wants to look at it.


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