Could some of the most in-demand housing markets be cooling off?
NAHB: Improving Markets Index dips to 80 in August
A total of 80 metropolitan statistical areas across 32 states and the District of Columbia were listed as improving housing markets on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for August.
NAHB, Improving Markets Index, IMI, August 2012, 80 metros, South, Midwest
A total of 80 metropolitan statistical areas across 32 states and the District of Columbia were listed as improving housing markets on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for August, released Wednesday. This included 75 markets that retained their places on the list along with five new ones, while nine areas fell from the list due primarily to slight movements in 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. The five metros that were added to the list this month include Miami and Palm Bay, Fla.; Hinesville, Ga.; Terre Haute, Ind.; and Lubbock, Texas.
“The list of improving housing markets in August includes metros across every region of the country, all of which have distinctly different characteristics in terms of their economic and employment bases as well as other factors,” noted Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “One thing that most markets have in common, however, is the tight lending environment for both builders and buyers that continues to drag on their positive momentum.”
“With nearly one quarter of all U.S. metros currently designated as improving housing markets, there is growing recognition among consumers that now is an opportune time to consider a home purchase," added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman at First American Title Insurance Company.
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 metropolitan area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.