February 2024 MBS Highway Housing Index

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John Smith
January 1, 2023
5 min read

February 2024 witnessed a massive increase in the MBS Highway National Housing Index, which rose 13 points to 55 (from 42 in January 2024). This was driven primarily by a 16 point jump in the Buyer Activity sub-index (from 33 → 49). While part of this increase is normal seasonality, there is little doubt that buyers have been reenergized by lower mortgage rates, slightly higher inventory, and the prospect of Fed rate cuts ahead.

National Data

The MBS Highway National Housing Index jumped to 55 in February 2024, from 42 in January 2024. This was the third-straight month of improvement after six months of decline. In February 2023, the index stood at just 39.

This month, it was the Buyer Activity sub-index that led the way, rising 16 points to 49 in February 2024, just shy of the 50 breakeven point. In February 2023, this sub-index was at 47. While 30-yr mortgage rates have climbed back near 7% in recent months, that is still more than 100 basis points (1%) below their peak levels.

The Price Direction sub-index, meanwhile, climbed 8 points to 60 in February 2024. In February 2023, this sub-index was at 31, reflecting the modest decline in home prices experienced in late-2022 and early-2023. Since then, prices have risen consistently in most markets, with national prices up roughly 6% in 2023.

Regional Data

Each of the seven regions posted a significant month-over-month improvement in their overall indexes, with their Buyer Activity sub-indexes surging above 50 (signaling expansion) everywhere except the Southwest (47), Northwest (43), and Southeast (43). The regional Price Direction sub-indexes, meanwhile, are now all above 50, with the Northeast (76) and Mid-Atlantic (69) seeing the strongest price momentum.

When it comes to home prices, it’s important to note the stark difference between the February 2024 results and the same time last year. For example, the West region’s Price Direction sub-index was at 23 in February 2023. It nearly tripled to 66 in February 2024. Similarly, the Northwest region’s Price Direction sub-index more than doubled from 22 in February 2023 to 53 in February 2024.

The year-over-year change in the regional Buyer Activity sub-indexes was mixed, with the Southeast, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions slightly less active than last year, while buyer activity quickened in the West, Southwest, and Northwest.

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