255 METROS LISTED AS IMPROVING HOUSING MARKETS IN JULY
A total of 255 metropolitan areas across 49 states and the District of Columbia qualified to be listed on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for July, released today. This is down slightly from the 263 metros that made the list in June, but is more than triple the number of metros that were on it in July of 2012.
The Greenville MSA, which includes Pickens, Laurens, and Greenville counties, was on the list again, for the 24th consecutive month, an indication that our local market has seen improving conditions since December 2010. Spartanburg, a small MSA, also is on the list.
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,” observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “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 NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “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 fact that more than two-thirds of all U.S. housing markets continue to be represented on the improving list should be a boon to consumer confidence at a time when many are looking to take advantage of today’s very favorable mortgage rates,” observed Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of 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 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.
The Washington Post today featured the HBA of Greenville, the Greenville community, and HBA of Greenville Past President Tom Dillard in a story about improving housing markets around the country. Also quoted was HBA of Greenville Executive Vice President Michael Dey and NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk. Check out the story in the Washington Post by clicking here.
84 METROS LISTED AS IMPROVING HOUSING MARKETS IN JULY
For the second straight month, the Greenville MSA (Greenville, Laurens, and Pickens counties) made the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). The list of U.S. housing markets showing measurable and sustained improvement rose by four to include 84 metros in July. This number includes representatives from 32 states and the District of Columbia. One other city from South Carolina made the list: Florence.
“Greenville’s inclusion on the Improving Markets Index is testimony to the solid improvements our housing market has made in the last year,” Robert Markel, CGR, President of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, said. “The only thing that has held us back has been housing prices,” Markel said. “Our market has always been stable where prices are concerned. However, as inventory has fallen, prices have risen, putting Greenville on this national list.”
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. This month’s IMI includes 73 metros that held their positions on the list from June, as well as 11 newly added markets.
“The geographic diversity and growing number of metros on the latest IMI help spotlight the improvements we have begun to see in terms of home prices and job market conditions across certain parts of this country, which in turn are spurring more demand for new homes,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “That said, our members continue to assert the need for more reasonable credit standards and more accurate appraisal methods to perpetuate this positive momentum.”
“The modest increase in the July IMI is encouraging because it indicates that individual housing markets continue to regain their footing despite some recent reports of weakening in the broader economy,” added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This is evidence that the housing recovery is slowly but surely taking root, one market at a time.”
“The positive takeaway from today’s report is that an increasing number of consumers are looking at better conditions to both buy and sell homes, which should help spur greater activity in certain markets going forward,” noted Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title 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. 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 areas for at least six months following their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.
A complete list of all 84 metropolitan areas 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.
The Greenville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which covers Greenville, Pickens, and Laurens counties, is the latest market to join NAHB’s Improving Markets Index. The index identifies markets that are improving based on three measures: 1) rising housing prices, 2) rising building activity, and 3) rising job creation.
NAHB featured Greenville last week on its blog, Eye on Housing. Featured in the report were comments from HBA of Greenville President Elect Rick Quinn and Director Matt Vaughn. Vaughn made note of a key issue that may impact home building as the housing market improves: “What’s scary is that unless there is some quick large-scale development I’m afraid we will run out of finished lots by the end of 2013.”
Read the entire report at Eye on Housing by clicking here.
Click here for a video of NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe discussing the Improving Markets Index.
Note that the last factor causing Greenville to join the Improving Markets Index was house prices. Housing prices in Greenville, while relatively stable, were not improving sufficiently until now to put our market on the list. Now that demand is catching up and surpassing supply, housing prices have been steadily rising in the Greenville area for the last six months.
The second monthly release of the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) on Oct. 5 showed that 23 individual housing markets were “improving,” nearly double the 12 markets on the list in September. The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in housing permits, employment and housing prices.
“Both the number and geographic diversity of improving housing markets expanded this month, with Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina all newly represented by one entry or more on the list,” NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen told Nation’s Building News. “This is further evidence that, despite the tough conditions that persist in many cities, pockets of improvement are emerging in local housing markets across the country,” he said.
Click here to view the metro areas included in the October list.