September 18, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

The list of improving metropolitan areas gained 19 members in September according to the NAHB/First American Improving Market Index (IMI), increasing from 80 in August to 99 in September as 31 new areas joined the list while 12 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 99 MSAs that met the criteria include:

Fayetteville,AR Tampa,FL Kansas City,MO Cleveland,TN
Jonesboro,AR Ames,IA St. Joseph,MO Knoxville,TN
Little Rock,AR Des Moines,IA Jackson,MS Amarillo,TX
Phoenix,AZ Iowa City,IA Greenville,NC Austin,TX
Prescott,AZ Sioux City,IA Jacksonville,NC College Station,TX
Tucson,AZ Boise City,ID Bismarck,ND Dallas,TX
Yuma,AZ Springfield,IL Fargo,ND Houston,TX
Hanford,CA Bloomington,IN Grand Forks,ND Laredo,TX
Sacramento,CA Columbus,IN Lincoln,NE Lubbock,TX
Boulder,CO Evansville,IN Vineland,NJ McAllen,TX
Fort Collins,CO Muncie,IN Syracuse,NY Midland,TX
Greeley,CO Terre Haute,IN Utica,NY Odessa,TX
Washington,DC Houma,LA Canton,OH San Angelo,TX
Cape Coral,FL Lafayette,LA Columbus,OH San Antonio,TX
Crestview,FL Monroe,LA Sandusky,OH Texarkana,TX
Deltona,FL Barnstable Town,MA Springfield,OH Victoria,TX
Jacksonville,FL Bay City,MI Lawton,OK Waco,TX
Lakeland,FL Detroit,MI Tulsa,OK St. George,UT
Miami,FL Grand Rapids,MI Bend,OR Charlottesville,VA
North Port,FL Jackson,MI Altoona,PA Kennewick,WA
Orlando,FL Monroe,MI Erie,PA Mount Vernon,WA
Palm Bay,FL St. Cloud,MN Pittsburgh,PA Huntington,WV
Pensacola,FL Columbia,MO Greenville,SC Casper,WY
Punta Gorda,FL Jefferson City,MO Rapid City,SD Cheyenne,WY
Sebastian,FL Joplin,MO Clarksville,TN  

There were 31 new MSAs added to the list this month while 12 were dropped. The 31 new metro areas added to the Index were Little Rock, AR, Tucson, AZ, Yuma, AZ, Sacramento, CA, Fort Collins, CO, Greeley, CO, Crestview, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Lakeland, FL, Punta Gorda, FL, Sebastian, FL, Des Moines, IA, Sioux City, IA, Springfield, IL, Lafayette, LA, Barnstable Town, MA, Jackson, MI, Greenville, NC, Utica, NY, Lawton, OK, Bend, OR, Altoona, PA, Rapid City, SD, Cleveland, TN, Amarillo, TX, College Station, TX, Waco, TX, Charlottesville, VA, Kennewick, WA, Mount Vernon, WA, and Huntington, WV.

Twelve MSAs were dropped from the list in September, up from nine in August, and include Gadsden, AL, Dover, DE, Hinesville, GA, Rome, GA, Warner Robins, GA, Bowling Green, KY, Springfield, MA, Saginaw, MI, Burlington, NC, Goldsboro, NC, Florence, SC and Parkersburg, WV.

Barry Rutenberg, the Chairman of NAMB, stated, “The number of improving housing markets grew by 19 in September as 68 metros retained their spots, 31 new metros were added and just 12 dropped off the list. This solid growth is an encouraging sign that housing continues on a slow but steady recovery path that is gradually advancing from one local market to the next.”

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