The list of improving housing markets
posted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and First American
Title took a huge jump in January, increasing from the 201 markets listed in
December to 242. The list now includes
at least one metropolitan area in each of 48 states and the District of
Columbia. Forty-seven new metropolitan
areas were added to the list while six were dropped.
The NAHB/First American Improving
Markets Index (IMI) lists metro areas which have shown improvement from their
post crisis troughs in each of three economic areas for six consecutive months.
These benchmark elements are housing
permits (from Census Bureau data), house prices (measured by Freddie Mac) and
employment (as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.).
Newly added metros include such
geographically diverse locations as Los Angeles, Auburn, Alabama; Des Moines,
Iowa; Nashville, Richmond, Virginia.; and Cleveland. Cities dropped included Montgomery, Alabama
and Lima, Ohio
"We created the improving markets list in September of 2011 to spotlight
individual metros where -- contrary to the national headlines -- housing
markets were on the mend," noted NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg. "Today, 242 out of 361 metros nationwide
appear on that list, including representatives from almost every state in the
country. The story is no longer about exceptions to the rule, but about the
growing breadth of the housing recovery even as overly strict mortgage
requirements hold back the pace of improvement."
"The IMI has almost doubled in the past two months as stronger demand
during prime home buying season boosted prices across a broader number of
metropolitan areas," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Similar
home price gains, and hence the IMI, may be tempered in the future as we see
data from typically slower months for home sales."
"Potential home buyers should be encouraged by the positive momentum in
home prices, permitting and employment that is increasingly evident in not just
isolated housing markets, but a broadening swath of the country," added
Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.