NAHB estimates nearly one-quarter of all U.S. metros are designated as improving housing markets.
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In addition to Washington, D.C., there are 80 metropolitan areas across 32 states that are showing measurable improvement in their respective housing markets, according to a report released last month by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) included 75 markets that retained their places on the list along with five new ones, while nine areas fell from the list due primarily to slight movements in house prices.
The index identifies metro areas that have shown improvement in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. The five metros that were added to last month’s list are: Miami and Palm Bay, Fla.; Hinesville, Ga.; Terre Haute, Ind.; and Lubbock, Texas.
“The list of improving housing markets in August includes metros across every region of the country, all of which have distinctly different characteristics in terms of their economic and employment bases as well as other factors,” notes Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Gainesville, Florida. “One thing that most markets have in common, however, is the tight lending environment for both builders and buyers that continues to drag on their positive momentum.”
“The fact that we continue to see a strong core of metros showing up on the improving list each month adds to the growing evidence that the emerging housing recovery has a solid foundation on which to build as housing returns to its traditional role of driving economic growth,” observes David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist.
“With nearly one-quarter of all U.S. metros currently designated as improving housing markets, there is growing recognition among consumers that now is an opportune time to consider a home purchase,” adds Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman at First American Title Insurance Company.
The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a bead on the top improving metropolitan statistical areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are: employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; house price appreciation from Freddie Mac; and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.
A complete list of all 80 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in August, are available at www.nahb.org/imi.