ACHRNEWS

Sept. 22, 2011: Improving Markets Index Highlights Metro Areas Showing Economic Recovery

September 22, 2011
WASHINGTON — The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has released its first NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), a new economic index revealing metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in three key economic areas: housing permits, employment, and housing prices.

The list of metropolitan areas includes:

• Alexandria, La.

• Anchorage, Alaska

• Bangor, Maine

• Bismarck, North Dakota

• Casper, Wyo.

• Fairbanks, Alaska

• Fayetteville, N.C.

• Houma, La.

• Midland, Texas

• New Orleans

• Pittsburgh

• Waco, Texas

“Despite the challenging conditions in the national economy and housing sector, there are areas throughout the country where we are seeing pockets of improvement,” said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the NAHB. “Housing conditions are local, and do not always reflect the national picture. We created this new index to shine a light on those housing markets across the country that have stabilized and have begun to show signs of recovery.”

“By examining key indicators of home prices, employment, and housing permits data, we are using a comprehensive but conservative method in determining which markets are improving,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “Last year at this time, there was not a single market that showed improvement using these criteria, and now we can point to 12 examples of growth.

“It’s not surprising that many of the states represented are energy rich areas,” Crowe continued. “Those are the regions still experiencing relatively strong employment, supporting housing demand.”

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. 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. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate the list of improving markets.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/imi.

Publication date: 09/19/2011