The list of 'Improving Markets"
compiled by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and
First American Title declined by eight in August to 247. This number
included 244 metropolitan areas that appeared on the July list and
three newcomers. Eleven cities fell from the list.
The Improving Markets Index (IMI)
identifies cities which have shown improvement from their respective
troughs on three economic markers, home construction, employment, and
home prices, for at least six consecutive months. NAHB/First
American use housing permit data from the U.S. Census Bureau,
employment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and home
price information from Freddie Mac to construct the IMI.
Added to the list this month were
Kankakee, Illinois, and Atlantic City and Ocean City in New Jersey.
Dropping from the list were Huntington and Parkersburg, West
Virginia; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Tyler, Texas, Lewiston, Idaho;
Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Bloomington, Indiana; Champaign,
Spartenburg, St. Cloud, and Virginia Beach.
While the number of improving markets
is down from July, NAHB pointed out that the list includes about
three times the number of metropolitan areas that were on the list
just one year ago. However, the list peaked at 274 areas in March
and, except for June, has declined each month since. Even with the
recent declines approximately 70 percent of U.S. Metro areas remain
on the list.
"In all, 244 metros that were listed as
improving in July retained that status in August, and this is an
encouraging sign of the continuing housing recovery," noted NAHB
Chairman Rick Judson. "That said, we know that the pace of
improvement is being hampered somewhat by challenges that builders
and buyers are experiencing with regard to the availability of
credit, materials, lots for development, and labor."
the number of improving housing markets this August remains well
ahead of the same month last year, the index is affected by seasonal
softening in home prices just as we saw happen in 2012. The
metros that fell off the list this month originally qualified with
very small home price improvements that have since slipped back,"
explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "As house prices
return to more normal levels in fully recovered markets, further IMI
advancements will be more modest."