August 9, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

The list of improving metropolitan areas lost four of its members in August according to the NAHB/First American Improving Market Index (IMI), falling from 84 in July to 80 in August as five new areas joined the list while nine others were dropped.

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 80 MSAs that met the criteria include:

Gadsden,AL Ames,IA Joplin,MO Florence,SC
Fayetteville,AR Iowa City,IA Kansas City,MO Greenville,SC
Jonesboro,AR Boise City,ID St. Joseph,MO Clarksville,TN
Phoenix,AZ Bloomington,IN Jackson,MS Knoxville,TN
Prescott,AZ Columbus,IN Burlington,NC Austin,TX
Hanford,CA Evansville,IN Goldsboro,NC Dallas,TX
Boulder,CO Muncie,IN Jacksonville,NC Houston,TX
Washington,DC Terre Haute,IN Bismarck,ND Laredo,TX
Dover,DE Bowling Green,KY Fargo,ND Lubbock,TX
Cape Coral,FL Houma,LA Grand Forks,ND McAllen,TX
Deltona,FL Monroe,LA Lincoln,NE Midland,TX
Miami,FL Springfield,MA Vineland,NJ Odessa,TX
North Port,FL Bay City,MI Syracuse,NY San Angelo,TX
Orlando,FL Detroit,MI Canton,OH San Antonio,TX
Palm Bay,FL Grand Rapids,MI Columbus,OH Texarkana,TX
Pensacola,FL Monroe,MI Sandusky,OH Victoria,TX
Tampa,FL Saginaw,MI Springfield,OH St. George,UT
Hinesville,GA St. Cloud,MN Tulsa,OK Parkersburg,WV
Rome,GA Columbia,MO Erie,PA Casper,WY
Warner Robins,GA Jefferson City,MO Pittsburgh,PA Cheyenne,WY

There were five new MSAs added to the list this month while nine were dropped. The five new metro areas added to the Index were Miami, FL, Palm Bay, FL, Hinesville, GA, Terre Haute, IN, and Lubbock, TX.

Only nine MSAs were dropped from the list in August, up from seven in July, and include Tuscaloosa, AL, Grand Junction, CO, Anderson, IN, Jackson, MI, Greenville, NC, Hickory, NC, Williamsport, PA, Jackson, TN, and Brownsville, TX.

Barry Rutenberg, the Chairman of NAMB, stated, “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. 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.”

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