Home/Mortgages/Improving Market Index Grows to 41 Metro Areas in December

December 7, 2011 (Jeff Alan)

The list of improving metropolitan areas expanded again this month, increasing by eleven additional metro areas to 41, according to the NAHB/First American Improving Market Index (IMI).

Utilizing data from almost 360 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), the index measures three independently collected or calculated indicators of improving economic health.

The three indicators are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price growth from Freddie Mac and single family housing growth from the Census Bureau. Each MSA must see improvement in all three indicators for at least a six month period after their respective trough before being categorized as improving.

For this month, the 41 MSAs that met the criteria include:

Anchorage,AK Lincoln,NE
San Jose,CA Canton,OH
Boulder,CO Toledo,OH
Fort Collins,CO Pittsburgh,PA
Washington,DC Scranton,PA
Athens,GA Williamsport,PA
Davenport,IA Kingsport,TN
Waterloo,IA Amarillo,TX
Kankakee,IL Corpus Christi,TX
Fort Wayne,IN Laredo,TX
Muncie,IN McAllen,TX
Monroe,LA Midland,TX
New Orleans,LA Odessa,TX
Ann Arbor,MI Sherman,TX
Muskegon,MI Tyler,TX
Jackson,MS Danville,VA
Fayetteville,NC Winchester,VA
Winston-Salem,NC Burlington,VT
Bismarck,ND Charleston,WV
Grand Forks,ND Casper,WY

There were 20 new MSAs added to the list this month while nine were dropped. The 20 new metro areas added to the Index were Ann Arbor, MI; Athens, GA; Boulder, CO; Burlington, VT; Canton, OH; Charleston, WV; Danville, VA; Fort Wayne, IN; Grand Forks, ND; Jackson, MS; Kingsport, TN; Laredo, TX; Lincoln, NE; Muncie, IN; Muskegon, MI; San Jose, CA; Scranton, PA; Toledo, OH; Washington, DC; Winchester, VA

The nine MSAs that were dropped were Alexandria, LA; Fairbanks, AK; Hinesville, GA; Houma, LA; Jonesboro, AR; Lima, OH; Pine Bluff, AR; Sumter, SC; and Waco, TX which were dropped primarily due to declining home prices.

“The increases we continue to see in the number and geographic diversity of improving metros are quite encouraging, and evidence of the fact that all housing markets are dependent on uniquely local factors,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev.

Texas continues to have the most metro areas on the list with eight and seven states were represented on the Index for the first time.

Tags: NAHB, First American, Improving Market Index, employment growth, house price growth, single family housing growth