The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) added 13 more metropolitan areas to its Improving Markets Index (IMI), pushing the total to 101 cities.
Representative of 35 states, the IMI, a unique survey of the nation’s best-performing urban area, has grown steadily since its launch in September, as each release has spotlighted more and more signs of an economic – and housing – recovery.
Among the new entrants were: Rome, Ga.; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Greenville, N.C.; Brownsville, Texas; St. George, Utah; and Huntington, W.Va.
NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg said that though some housing markets are still struggling, NAHB’s index shows that at least 101 are performing quite well.
“While housing markets across the country continue to struggle under the weight of overly tight lending conditions and other challenges, the April IMI indicates that at least 101 individual metros are showing measurable and consistent signs that they are headed in the right direction,” Rutenberg said. “A total of 35 states are now represented on the list, with 10 states having four or more entries. This positive news is in line with what our builder members have observed regarding firming conditions and improved buyer interest in certain locations.”
Kurt Pfotenhauer, the vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company, said the diversity of the index’s metropolitan areas indicate good things going forward.
“The fact that the number and geographic distribution of improving housing markets continued to expand beyond the 100 mark in April bodes well for the start of the spring home buying season, and should be an encouraging sign for those who are considering a home purchase,” he said.
Designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health, the index measures 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 in its assessments.
David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist, highlighted some of the nuances of the index, as it enters its seventh month of existence.
“After five consecutive months of gains, the IMI recently began to plateau, with many markets holding steady and a few experiencing the ups-and-downs that are typical in a choppy recovery,” Crowe said. “The IMI is designed to highlight markets that are showing consistent improvement, and those markets that have registered the smallest gains are more susceptible to dropping off the list due to a minor setback in prices, permits or employment.”
A complete list of all 99 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI can be viewed here: www.nahb.org/imi.