NAHB Improving Markets Index Poised for Triple Digits

by Houston Agent

The NAHB debuted the IMI in September, and in each subsequent month, the index has improved.

The National Association of Home Builders in March added 30 more metropolitan areas to its Improving Markets Index (IMI), a unique survey of the nation’s best-performing urban areas.

Representative of 33 states, the IMI has grown steadily since its launch in September, as each release has spotlighted more and more signs of an economic – and housing – recovery.

New entrants to the IMI in included Orlando, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Barry Rutenberg, the NAHB’s chairman, said the index’s growth clearly demonstrates the many growing markets in the U.S.

“In March, 68 metros retained their status as improving housing markets, while 31 new markets joined the list and 33 states had at least one entry on it,” Rutenberg said.  “Meanwhile, 10 states now have four or more metros on the improving markets list, with Texas’s 12 entries topping all others. The point is that economic conditions have been consistently strengthening in a diverse array of individual markets nationwide.”

Kurt Pfotenhauer, the vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company, said consumer confidence has been a big part of the index’s success.

“With nearly 100 metros showing consistent improvement in local economic and housing conditions, more consumers are feeling confident enough to take advantage of the buyer’s market this spring,” Pfotenhauer 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, said that proportionally, the number of cities on the index is extremely promising.

“After five consecutive months of solid gains, the March IMI held virtually flat this month at just under 100 metros, while showing a significant amount of transition in terms of markets represented on the list,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The bottom line is that roughly one quarter of all U.S. metropolitan areas are showing signs that their housing markets have turned the corner, which is a very positive development.”

A complete list of all 99 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI can be viewed here: www.nahb.org/imi.

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