Housing shows another sign of improvement
Although housing has a long way to go until a recovery, some signs of improvement are cropping up in national economic indices. Today, the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) reports that the number of housing markets showing consistent improvement in three key measures of strength expanded by 22 in November to a total of 125, marking the third consecutive monthly gain for the index.
The 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. Markets added to the list in November include such geographically diverse locations as San Diego, Calif.; Gainesville, Ga.; Omaha, Neb.; Louisville, Ky.; and Charlotte, N.C.
“Not only did 22 additional markets qualify for the improving list in November, but the geographic distribution of included metros expanded from 33 states to 38 (plus the District of Columbia), while 97 out of 103 markets retained their spots on the list from the previous month,” observed Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “This shows that a housing recovery is firmly taking root and helping generate needed jobs and economic growth across much of the country — though we know that this expansion could be even stronger were it not for ongoing challenges including overly tight lending conditions and difficult appraisals.”
“This new high point for the Improving Markets Index provides the latest evidence that housing has turned a corner due to rising demand from consumers who are increasingly confident about the direction of local home values,” said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.
The IMI 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. NAHB 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.