Spring means the real estate industry is heading into the busy season for the home sales market.

Just in time, Freddie Mac has just launched a program to lessen the guessing game when looking at the health of housing markets.

The federal home mortgage company is offering a tool named Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market Index, or MiMi. It combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to calculate a range of equilibrium for single-family housing markets.

The free interactive technology monitors and measures the stability of the nation's housing market each month, in addition to the housing markets of all U.S. states, including South Carolina.

The program provides data for the 50 biggest metropolitan areas, none of which is in the Palmetto State.

MiMi identifies the housing market "sweet spot" in terms of where prices, demand, affordability and sales are stable and sustainable. It also indicates where a market is trending.

"MiMi is the right housing index at the right time as we once again transition to a purchase-dominated housing market," said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. "With recent history demonstrating that housing activity differs substantially from market to market, MiMi offers a fresh perspective on housing at the local level just as we are entering this new purchase-market landscape."

Apartment amenity

As previously reported, the multifamily website ApartmentGuide.com reported last week that Charleston will lead the nation in apartment growth.

It predicted the region will see an 8 percent increase in apartment construction, stronger than any other corner of the nation.

Developers would be wise to install washers and dryers in the units.

The reason: that's the most requested convenience from from would-be Charleston renters based on online search data, said Catherine Hontz, senior market sales manager for ApartmentGuide.com.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550.