Number of Improving Housing Markets Tops 100, New Report Finds

More than 100 housing markets made the list for the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index for October, according to the report released earlier this week.

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Some 103 markets across the country are on the list – the largest number since the index was created a year ago. The October list comprises of markets from 33 states and the District of Columbia.

In order to make the list, a market has to have shown improvement in the number of housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six back-to-back months. 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.

New markets on the list include Santa Cruz, Calif.; Pocatello, Idaho; Abilene, Texas; and Savannah, Ga.

“While 11 new housing markets were designated as improving in October, 92 metros retained their spots on the IMI and just seven slipped from the list,” noted Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “This is an encouraging sign that the housing recovery is proceeding at a steady pace as firming prices and employment help spur new building activity, which in turn generates new jobs and more home sales.”

“The fact that most markets are maintaining their spots on the improving list from month to month is an important indication that the recovery trend is solidifying,” agreed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “At the same time, overly tight credit conditions are certainly constraining consumers’ ability to purchase homes as well as builders’ ability to construct them.”

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported this week that existing-home sales this year are expected to rise 9 percent to 4.64 million, and gain another 8 percent in 2013 to nearly 5.02 million. With generally balanced inventory conditions in many areas, the median existing-home price is projected to rise about 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013.

A complete list of all 103 metropolitan areas currently on the Improving Market Index, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in October, is available at