The number of housing markets considered "improving" according to parameters established by theNational Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index(IMI) surged by 76 to a total of 201 metros in December, according to IMI data. The index also shows that the number of states represented on the list by at least one metro increased from 38 in November to 44 (plus the District of Columbia) in December.
index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their
respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least
six consecutive months. A total of 84 new metros were added to the list and
eight were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such
geographically diverse locations as Atlanta, Ga.; Bloomington, Ill.; Ann Arbor,
Mich.; Seattle, Wash.; and Green Bay, Wis.
big gain in improving markets this December indicates that key measures of
housing and economic strength have now been holding steady or improving in
metros across the country for six months or more, which is an important signal
of stability amidst the slowly emerging recovery,” said NAHB ChairmanBarry
Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “The main thing
that's limiting the progress we're seeing right now is the difficulty that
potential buyers continue to experience with regard to overly tight mortgage
fourth consecutive month of expansion in the IMI, coupled with the fact that
well over half of all metro areas are now represented on the list, is in
keeping with the upward trends that we've been seeing all year in terms of
housing starts and sales, builder confidence and other measures,” noted NAHB
Chief EconomistDavid Crowe. “In general, we expect the
overall housing recovery to continue expanding in 2013.”
IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are
showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of
independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving Metropolitan
Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing price appreciation from Freddie
Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau.
uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of
improving markets. A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three
measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures'
respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.
complete list of all 201 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate
breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in December, is