Number of Improving U.S. Housing Markets Jumps to 259, NAHB Says

List of Improving U.S. Housing Markets Jumps to 259, NAHB SaysAn index that tracks 361 housing markets across the United States now shows more than 70 percent of these areas as improving and the list has expanded for six straight months, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
The number of improving markets on the NAHB/First American  index is up from 242 in January to 259 for February. Advancing metro areas now cover all 50 states and the District of the Columbia.
There were just 12 improving metro areas in September of 2011.
The index looks for rebounds in employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 20 new metros were added to the list and three were dropped from this month. Newly added locations included Rome, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Racine, Wis.
“The fact that all 50 states now have at least one metro on the improving list shows that the housing recovery has substantial momentum and continues to expand from one market to the next,” said 2013 NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Of course, there is still much room for improvement in metros that have not yet been listed as well as those that have, and we know that a key factor slowing this progress is today’s overly stringent mortgage standards that are keeping qualified buyers on the sidelines.”
The index measures three sets of independent monthly data: 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.
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 it is included on the improving markets list.
A complete list of all 259 metropolitan areas is available at nahb.org/imi.

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