Number of Improving Housing Markets Surges to 201 in December

The number of housing markets considered "improving" according to parameters established by the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index surged by 76 to a total of 201 metros in December.

Washington, D.C.—The number of housing markets considered “improving” according to parameters established by the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) surged by 76 to a total of 201 metros in December, according to IMI data released today. The index also shows that the number of states represented on the list by at least one metro increased from 38 in November to 44 (plus the District of Columbia) in December.

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. A total of 84 new metros were added to the list and eight were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Atlanta, Ga.; Bloomington, Ill.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Seattle, Wash.; and Green Bay, Wis.

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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