The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB
The number of housing markets showing measurable improvement nearly doubled in January with the addition of 40 new metro areas to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released on Jan. 9.
The IMI now includes 76 improving markets, up from 41 in December, with 31 states represented by at least one entry.
The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
Listed alphabetically by state, the following were added to the IMI in January:
- Florence, Ala.
- Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Fayetteville, Ark.
- Greeley, Colo.
- Bridgeport, Conn.
- New Haven, Conn.
- Cape Coral, Fla.
- Jacksonville, Fla.
- Punta Gorda, Fla.
- Ames, Iowa
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Dubuque, Iowa
- Elkhart, Ind.
- Lafayette, Ind.
- Lake Charles, La.
- Worcester, Mass.
- Grand Rapids, Mich.
- Lansing, Mich.
- Monroe, Mich.
- Columbia, Mo.
- Joplin, Mo.
- Fargo, N.D.
- Manchester, N.H.
- Oklahoma City
- Tulsa, Okla.
- Corvallis, Ore.
- Erie, Pa.
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Clarksville, Tenn.
- Nashville, Tenn.
- College Station, Texas
- Victoria, Texas
- Madison, Wis.
“The fact that the list of improving housing markets nearly doubled this month shows that a significant, positive trend is developing, and is even more relevant when you consider the expanding geographic distribution of the list — which now includes 31 states and the District of Columbia,” noted NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen.
“This trend would be even stronger if not for the numerous impediments that continue to slow a housing and economic recovery, including overly restrictive lending policies and the growing inventory of distressed properties in certain markets,” Nielsen said.
“While relatively small metropolitan areas continue to dominate the list of improving housing markets, it’s important to note that several major metros in diverse parts of the country have now joined the field as well — including Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Nashville and Philadelphia,” added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
“This is an encouraging sign that gradually strengthening economic conditions are starting to take hold across a broader swath of America,” he said.
“The substantial gain in the number of improving housing markets in January shows that more consumers are looking favorably at a home purchase in light of today’s historically low interest rates and attractive prices, particularly in areas where job growth has picked up,” added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of 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 determine the top improving Metropolitan Statistical Areas — 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.
A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.
Only five metropolitan areas dropped off the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index in January. These included Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Canton, Ohio; Scranton, Pa.; and Charleston, W. Va.
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A complete list of all 76 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI is available at: www.nahb.org/imi.