Category Archives: Improving Markets Index

Read of the Day: List of Improving Housing Markets Expands to 125 in November

List of Improving Housing Markets Expands to 125 in November

by David Crowe — Eye on Housing

The number of U.S. housing markets showing consistent improvement in three key measures of strength expanded by 22 in November to a total of 125, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). This marks a third consecutive monthly gain for the index, which now includes representatives from across 38 states as well as the District of Columbia.

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, Georgia; 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.

The 125 markets on the IMI now represents about one-third of all the markets surveyed for this index.

The 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. 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.

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Improving Markets Index Shows Modest Increase

Improving Markets Index Shows Modest Increase

by David Crowe — Eye on Housing

The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) increased in July to 84 from the June level of 80. The modest net increase was the result of an addition of 11 new metropolitan areas and a loss of seven areas. Six of the seven MSAs that were dropped from the list were because house prices fell back below their previous low and one because single-family building permits dropped below their former low point. Up to June, the average house price increases for the six dropped had been 0.2% compared to a 3.1% average increase for the MSAs remaining on the list. Harrisonburg VA fell off the list because permits fell below their last trough in October 2011.
The MSAs on the list represent 33 states and the District of Columbia and continue to show broad geographic distribution. House prices remain the most fragile of the three components of the IMI. Average permit growth was 4.1% from their respective troughs; average price growth was 3.1% and average employment growth is 4.8% from the respective troughs. National house price indexes have shown some positive movements in the past two months and these results should begin to show up in individual metropolitan areas as well.
NAHB expects the housing recovery to continue to be best shown through individual markets experiencing modest but continued growth in house price, building permits and employment.

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Improving Market List Nearly Doubles

by David Crowe — Eye on Housing

The NAHB/First American Financial Improving Markets Index (IMI) rose to 76 in January from a December level of 41. Forty metropolitan areas were added to the list and five dropped off. The additions continued the trend of mostly smaller metropolitan areas recovering enough to make the list, although some notable large metros also joined.
To be listed on the IMI, a metropolitan area must see a six month improvement in single-family permits, house prices and employment. The index was initiated in September 2011 and has risen every month but the January increase was the largest.
Two-thirds of the metropolitan areas have populations below one-half million and over 80 percent have populations under one million. Thirty-one states and the Washington DC metropolitan area are represented on the list (which expands the state list to 32 since the metro area includes counties in Maryland). The dominance of smaller places and the geographic spread is compelling evidence that the current economic and housing recovery is diverse. While a few larger metropolitan areas were on the list and more were added in January, improvements in diverse and relatively small locations have been insufficient to show similar positive changes in national trends.
The expansion in the number of places and increase in larger places has helped to show some slim but positive improvements in national housing indicators and NAHB expects the trend to continue.
Large metro areas added this month include Dallas, joining 10 other Texas metropolitan areas; Philadelphia, joining the state’s second largest metro Pittsburgh; Minneapolis, the largest metro in Minnesota and the first entry from Minnesota; Denver, the largest Colorado metro and joining Boulder and Fort Collins; and Cincinnati, the third largest metro in Ohio and joining Toledo on the list.
The five places that fell off the list were: Anchorage, Scranton and Charleston WV because house prices dipped below their previous trough and Canton OH and Fort Wayne IN because permits dipped below their previous trough.

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Builders (NAHB) report improving housing market

Twenty Metros Join List of Improving Housing Markets Index in December

by Robert Dietz — Eye on Housing

The number of improving housing markets continued to expand for a fourth consecutive month in December, rising from 30 to 41 on the latest National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today.

The December list featured 20 new additions, including several major markets such as Washington, D.C.; San Jose, Calif.; and Toledo, Ohio. Meanwhile, nine smaller markets dropped off the list, primarily due to softer house prices.

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.

New entrants to the list in December include the following:

Ann Arbor, MI
Athens, GA
Boulder, CO
Burlington, VT
Canton, OH
Charleston, WV
Danville, VA
Fort Wayne, IN
Grand Forks, ND
Jackson, MS
Kingsport, TN
Laredo, TX
Lincoln, NE
Muncie, IN
Muskegon, MI
San Jose, CA
Scranton, PA
Toledo, OH
Washington, DC
Winchester, VA

The nine markets that dropped off the IMI in December include Alexandria, La.; Fairbanks, Alaska; Hinesville, Ga.; Houma, La.; Jonesboro, Ark.; Lima, Ohio; Pine Bluff, Ark.; Sumter, S.C. and Waco, Tex. All but two of these metros fell from the list due to softening house prices. The exceptions to the rule were Jonesboro and Waco, where declines were registered in employment and single-family housing permits, respectively.

The total list of improving housing markets in December, as defined by the IMI, includes the following 41 entries (listed alphabetically by state):

Anchorage, AK
San Jose, CA
Boulder, CO
Fort Collins, CO
Washington, DC
Athens, GA
Davenport, IA
Waterloo, IA
Kankakee, IL
Fort Wayne, IN
Muncie, IN
Monroe, LA
New Orleans, LA
Ann Arbor, MI
Muskegon, MI
Jackson, MS
Fayetteville, NC
Winston-Salem, NC
Bismarck, ND
Grand Forks, ND
Lincoln, NE
Canton, OH
Toledo, OH
Pittsburgh, PA
Scranton, PA
Williamsport, PA
Kingsport, TN
Amarillo, TX
Corpus Christi, TX
Laredo, TX
McAllen, TX
Midland, TX
Odessa, TX
Sherman, TX
Tyler, TX
Danville, VA
Winchester, VA
Burlington, VT
Charleston, WV
Casper, WY
Cheyenne, WY

The 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, 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 metro area must see improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

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NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index

NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index

by NAHB

The inaugural edition of the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index for September 2011 is an index value of 12.  The index counts the number of US metropolitan areas that fulfill a conservative definition of what constitutes economic improvement.  The index is being introduced by NAHB as a counter measure to the drum beat of bad national economic and housing news.  An economic recovery is taking place in the US but it is occurring in relatively small metropolitan areas that don’t make a national scale.

In order to be categorized as “improving”, a metropolitan area must see at least a six month improvement in all three critical elements of the local economy: single-family housing permits, employment and house prices. The data for each of these monthly indicators come from independent sources: building permits from the US Census Bureau, employment for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and house price index from Freddie Mac.  If all three measures are above their respective troughs for a period of six months, indicating some stability in their improvement, then the metropolitan area is deemed improving.

The index began at a value of five in December 2010 and has been increasing or remaining steady since. (See chart).  The 12 metro areas are shown in the table along with the changes in the three measures that justify their placement.  The 12 metros are heavily concentrated in energy producing areas but not solely.  Metro areas in Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska have benefited from increased energy production.  Metro areas outside energy producing regions are also on the list, such as Pittsburgh and Bangor.

The index will be released every month on the fourth business day of the month.

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