July 16, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

The list of improving metropolitan areas showed resiliency in July after suffering a 20 percent drop in June with four new markets joining the NAHB/First American Improving Market Index (IMI) pushing the index up from 80 to 84 markets.

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 84 MSAs that met the criteria include:

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

There were 11 new MSAs added to the list this month while seven were dropped. The 11 new metro areas added to the Index were Gadsden, AL, Prescott, AZ, Dover, DE, Warner Robins, GA, Springfield, MA, Jackson, MI, St. Cloud, MN, Greenville, NC, Jacksonville, NC, Vineland, NJ, Canton, OH, and Houston, TX.

Only seven MSAs were dropped from the list in July, down from 48 in June, and include Punta Gorda. FL, Owensboro, KY, Barnstable Town, MA, Rochester, NY, Wichita Falls, TX, Harrisonburg, VA, and Huntington, WV.

Barry Rutenberg, the Chairman of NAMB, stated, “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. That said, our members continue to assert the need for more reasonable credit standards and more accurate appraisal methods to perpetuate this positive momentum.”

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