Things have been looking up for the housing market, but 16 of New Jersey's 21 counties are still worse off than they were four years ago.

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That's according to a new report by RealtyTrac which analyzed five metrics impacting housing: average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and share of distressed sales.

"In New Jersey, Hudson County ranked at the bottom of the list because the foreclosure inventory is up from four years ago, although foreclosure starts are down. That's the good news," said Daren Blomquist, Vice President of RealtyTrac. "But, there are more of these distressed sales happening in Hudson County. Cape May County ranked the highest and was most improved. Average home prices are up there and unemployment is down."

The report analyzed 919 counties nationwide using the five metrics. In those counties, 580, or 65 percent, showed at least three out of the five worse off than four years ago, while in 315 counties, or 35 percent, at least three of the five were better off than four years ago.

"The U.S. housing market has shown strong signs of life in recent months, and it continues to improve, but many local markets are still struggling with high levels of negative equity as a 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 Blomquist. "While the worst of the foreclosure problem is in the rear view 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."