Sixty-five percent of U.S. housing markets studied by RealtyTrac are worse off than they were four years ago, according to the Irvine, Calif.-based real estate research firm. 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 over 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, vice president at RealtyTrac.
"While the worst of the foreclosure problem is in the rearview 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 behind 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.