All fifty states and the District of
Columbia are now represented on the Improving Markets Index (IMI) that was
released today by National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and First
American Title Insurance. The February
IMI expanded to a total of 259 metropolitan areas with the addition of 20 cities
to the list
The new cities represented 15 states
with five of those states, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas
adding two metropolitan areas each. Among
the new additions were Racine, New York, El Paso, Albuquerque, and Topeka. Three
areas, Champaign, Illinois; Lebanon, Pennsylvania; and Amarillo, Texas dropped
from the list in February.
Improving markets are defined as those that
have posted six straight months of improvement from their respective troughs on
each of three economic measures; home prices provided by Freddie Mac,
employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and construction activity as
measured by data on building permits from the Census Bureau.
NAHB and First American began compiling
their list of improving markets in September 2011. The number of markets, which was fairly
static for the first half of 2012 has since risen rapidly, increasing from 80
cities to 259 in six months.
"The fact that all 50 states now
have at least one metro on the improving list shows that the housing recovery
has substantial momentum and continues to expand from one market to the
next," said 2013 NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte,
N.C. "Of course, there is still much room for improvement in metros that
have not yet been listed as well as those that have, and we know that a key
factor slowing this progress is today's overly stringent mortgage standards
that are keeping qualified buyers on the sidelines."
"Just over 70 percent of the 361 metros covered by the IMI are listed as
improving this month," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "That's
a far cry from when we initiated this index with just 12 improving metros in
September of 2011 for the purpose of highlighting places that didn't fit the
mold of the national headlines. Today, the story is about how widespread the
recovery has become as conditions steadily improve in markets nationwide."