Report: 65 percent of nation’s housing markets are worse off than four years ago

A report from RealtyTrac showed 65 percent of housing markets are in worse shape than four years ago.

By Martha Brannigan, The Miami Herald

In a report released Tuesday, RealtyTrac said 65 percent of local housing markets nationwide are “worse off than four years ago,’’ according to an analysis of five key metrics.

The Irvine, Calif.-based data firm, in a report dubbed “Election 2012 Housing Health Check,” looked at average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts, and what percentage of sales were distressed in more than 900 counties.

In the 919 counties that had data in all five categories, 580, or 65 percent, showed at least three of the five in worse shape than four years ago, RealtyTrac said. In 315 counties, or 35 percent, three or more of the five indicators had improved from 2008.

For Miami-Dade, among the worst hit areas of the country in the housing debacle, the average sales price was down 29 percent over the four-year period; unemployment was up 29 percent; the foreclosure inventory was up 42 percent; and foreclosures accounted for 28 percent of sales, up from 21.7 percent of total sales in 2008.

Among the five metrics, only the number of foreclosure starts showed improvement in Miami-Dade, plunging 29 percent from 2008 levels, the report said.

Nationwide, RealtyTrac said home prices are down in a majority of counties from four years ago. Unemployment rates are up in more than 90 percent of counties, the firm reported.

The foreclosure situation is mixed, RealtyTrac said, with “slightly more than half of all counties documenting lower foreclosure inventory and fewer foreclosure starts compared to four years ago.’’

Distressed sales amount to a smaller percentage of home sales than four years ago about half of all counties, but are still 10 percent or more of all sales in the majority of counties nationwide, RealtyTrac said.

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