Improving Housing Markets Tally Jumps by Nearly a Quarter

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American list of improving markets jumped by a net of 22 metropolitan areas (MSAs) this month, the third consecutive monthly increase in the Improving Markets Index (IMI) which now stands at a total of 125.  The index now includes at least one MSA in each of 38 states and the District of Columbia.  Last month the index represented 33 states plus the District.

The IMI identifies markets in which there has been improvement for six consecutive months from their respective toughs in each of three economic measures; employment as measured by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, permits issued for new single-family home construction from the Census Bureau survey, and home price changes from Freddie Mac mortgage data.   

Six markets dropped off of the October list compared to seven that did not carry over from September to October.  Of the 28 states joining the list three were in California and there were two in each of seven states, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said that the number of states added to the list and the wide geographic distribution. "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."

"The solid increase in the number of improving housing markets this month illustrates the degree to which thehousing recovery has gained momentum since we initiated the IMI last year," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Compared to the 30 markets that made the list as of November 2011, we now have 125, which is about one-third of all the markets surveyed for this index."

"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.

by Jann Swanson Mortgage News Daily Nov 6, 2012

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