The National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) expanded yet again last month, with the NAHB adding 11 more metros to the index, which now totals 84.
A measure of improving economic conditions, the IMI now features cities from 32 states plus the District of Columbia; the metros featured in the index have all shown improvement in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
Barry Rutenberg, the NAHB chairman, said the diversity of the featured cities indicates the breadth of the current real estate recovery, something The Wall Street Journal reported on earlier today.
“The geographic diversity and growing number of metros on the latest IMI help spotlight the improvements we have begun to see in terms of home prices and job market conditions across certain parts of this country, which in turn are spurring more demand for new homes,” Rutenberg said.
Some of the notable new entries include Prescott, Ariz., Springfield, Mass., St. Cloud, Minn. and Houston, Texas. Though no metros from Illinois are currently featured on the list, a look at the latest housing data for the Land of Lincoln suggests the state is well on its way to such a distinction: the median home price for Chicago increased in May for the first time in four years, and prices were up for the city in the latest Case-Shiller; a study of Chicagoland data we conducted found that closings for the area were up 25 percent in May; and statewide, sales were up 22.1 percent in the same month.
David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist, said the IMI’s perseverance amidst slower economic activity is particularly promising.
“The modest increase in the July IMI is encouraging because it indicates that individual housing markets continue to regain their footing despite some recent reports of weakening in the broader economy,” Crowe said. “This is evidence that the housing recovery is slowly but surely taking root, one market at a time.”
Some of the notable new entries include Prescott, Ariz., Springfield, Mass., St. Cloud, Minn. and Houston, Texas. Though no metros from Illinois are currently featured on the list, a look at the latest housing data for the Sunshine State suggests it is well on its way to such a distinction: the median condo sales price for Miami was up 22 percent in May, and prices have risen for six consecutive months; in addition, prices rose 3.2 percent in the latest Case-Shiller, which was among the strongest increases in the nation; and sales have been so strong that inventory is down 33 percent from last year. Altogether, the market has been, in the words of Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, the managing partner of Cervera Real Estate and Master Broker Forum member, “staggering.”