The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Six new markets were added to the list and 14 were dropped from it in July. Newcomers include the geographically diverse metros of Cumberland, Md.; Saginaw, Mich.; Farmington and Las Cruces, N.M.; Kingston, N.Y.; and Olympia, Wash.
“This is the sixth straight month in which at least 70 percent of all U.S. metros have qualified for the Improving Markets Index,” said Rick Judson, NAHB chairman. “The relative stability of the IMI is representative of the broad recovery underway, which is much more extensive than what we were looking at one year ago.”
“Despite slight ups and downs in recent IMI levels, an overwhelming majority of U.S. metros — including those located in almost every state — remain solidly on the path to recovery even as the pace of their improvement is slowed by ongoing challenges related to the availability of credit, labor, lots, and certain building materials,” added David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. “Based on recent trends in home prices, housing permits, and employment, the outlook for a continued housing expansion remains very positive for the remainder of 2013.”
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 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 measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.
A complete list of all 255 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in July, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.
Publication date: 7/8/2013