November 14, 2011
Nation's Building News

The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB

In Its Third Month, NAHB Index Tracks Expansion of Improving Markets

The number of improving housing markets around the nation climbed from 23 to 30 in November, according to the latest NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), which has been on the rise since it was initiated in September.

Two metro areas dropped off the latest index, but nine new ones were added — Cheyenne, Wyo.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Davenport, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colo.; Hinesville, Ga.; Lima, Ohio; Monroe, La.; Tyler, Texas; and Williamsport, Pa.

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in housing permits, employment and housing prices.

The following metros were listed in November:

  • Alexandria, La.
  • Amarillo, Texas
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Bismarck, N.D.
  • Casper, Wyo.
  • Cheyenne, Wyo.
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Davenport, Iowa
  • Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Hinesville, Ga.
  • Houma, La.
  • Jonesboro, Ark.
  • Kankakee, Ill.
  • Lima, Ohio
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Midland, Texas
  • Monroe, La.
  • New Orleans
  • Odessa, Texas
  • Pine Bluff, Ark.
  • Pittsburgh
  • Sherman, Texas
  • Sumter, S.C.
  • Tyler, Texas
  • Waco, Texas
  • Waterloo, Iowa
  • Williamsport, Pa.
  • Winston-Salem, N.C.

"Texas continued to dominate the list of improving housing markets in November, increasing its net number of entries to eight and continuing a trend in which energy-producing metros seem to be doing better than the average," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen.

"Meanwhile, the geographic diversity of metros also continued to expand in November, with the states of Colorado, Georgia and Ohio all represented for the first time,” Nielsen said.

“This is further evidence that all housing markets are uniquely dependent upon local conditions, and some are leading the way toward an eventual, broader recovery," he said.

"The November IMI remained heavily weighted by smaller cities, with Pittsburgh and New Orleans the only major metros represented," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

"This is indicative of the tough conditions that continue to prevail across much of the country, particularly in larger markets that have been hit hardest by job losses and foreclosures during the recession and that will take more time to heal,” he said.

“However, momentum is building in pockets of the country where energy and agriculture are the dominant industries and where consistent, measurable improvements in economic conditions are now becoming apparent."

Iowa City, Iowa, and Wichita Falls, Kan., were the two metros that dropped off of the improving markets list in November after experiencing declines in employment and permit data, respectively.

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 determine 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 metro area must see improvement in all three indicators for at least six months following their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

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