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RealtyTrac on The Willis Report: Why Most Housing Markets Worse Off Than 2008

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A housing report issued last week by RealtyTrac found that housing markets in 65 percent of U.S. counties are worse off than it was four years ago.

That caught the attention of several in the media, including Gerri Willis of the Fox Business Network. Willis interviewed RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist about the findings in the report for a segment of The Willis Report on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Willis was surprised at the finding in the report, given all the recent good news in the housing market, but Blomquist explained that the RealtyTrac analysis looked at the net improvement or decline over the past four years in each of the 919 county housing markets analyzed. While many markets have seen recent improvement, the majority are still below the level they were at four years ago before the last presidential election.

There are some bright spots across the country, however. Blomquist pointed to places like coastal California as well as even Wayne County, Mich., home of Detroit. In places like Wayne County, the housing market is better off largely because foreclosures there have been processed quickly and not bogged down with delays as they are in other states.

The RealtyTrac analysis looked at five key metrics related to housing: average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and percentage of distressed sales. While foreclosure inventory and foreclosure starts are down in a slight majority of counties, the percentage of distressed sales is still higher than it was in most counties four years ago, helping to keep the average price of a home below the level of four years ago in the majority of counties. Meanwhile, unemployment rates are up in more than 90 percent of counties, and that is having a continued chilling effect on any robust housing recovery.

Download full report.

View county-level housing market heat maps for each of the five metrics analyzed.

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