The number of metropolitan statistical area
(MSA) housing markets designated as 'improving" by the National Association of
Homebuilders (NAHB) declined from 84 in July to 80 this month. NAHB said that nine MSAs had fallen off of
the NAHB/Wells Fargo Improving Markets Index (IMI) while five new cities had
been added. Cities on the list represent
32 states and the District of Columbia.
Inclusion on the IMI means that a market
has shown improvement from its respective troughs in housing permits,
employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. The improvement is measured by data provided
by the Census Bureau, Department of Labor Statistics, and Freddie Mac.
Miami and Palm Bay, Florida; Hinesville, Georgia; Terre Haute, Indiana; and
Lubbock, Texas were added to the list this month. The nine areas dropped were largely in the
south and, according to NAHB, fell from the list due to slight movements in
"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," noted Barry Rutenberg, NAHB chairman. "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," observed NAHB 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," added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman at First
American Title Insurance Company.