A total of 291 metropolitan areas nationwide now qualify as improving housing markets—a record high for September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American (NAHB) Improving Markets Index (IMI).
The September IMI reading reflects a gain of 44 markets from August and the index’s highest level since it was initiated two years ago.
The IMI identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in three areas: housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
In September, 242 housing markets retained their existing positions on the index, while 49 new markets were added and five were dropped from the list.
Recent additions to the NAHB improving markets list were Macon, Ga.; St. Clous, Minn.; Brownsville, Tx.; Spokane, Wash.; and Milwaukee, Wis.
“Just over 80% of the 361 metros tracked by our index are showing consistent growth in three key measures of housing market strength—prices, permits and employment,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, North Carolina. “While there is still plenty of room for growth, this is an excellent indication of how the housing recovery has begun to take hold across more geographic areas.”
September’s IMI reading also indicates that every state is now able to claim at least one county that’s part of an improving metro.
The gain in improving markets from August was due partly to recent improvements in the way that Freddie Mac measures home prices, according to NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
“Even so, the broadened list of metros on the IMI continues to demonstrate the slow but steady gains that individual housing markets are making to bolster the national outlook,” he said.
Click here to view the complete list of Improving Markets from NAHB.
Written by Jason Oliva