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February 16, 2012 (Jeff Alan)

Signs of improved economic conditions and stable housing markets spread to more areas of the nation in February as 29 additional metropolitan areas were added to the already growing list of improving areas 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 98 MSAs that met the criteria include:

Florence,AL Elkhart,IN Fayetteville,NC Memphis,TN
Tuscaloosa,AL Indianapolis,IN Winston-Salem,NC Nashville,TN
Fayetteville,AR Lafayette,IN Bismarck,ND Amarillo,TX
Napa,CA Muncie,IN Fargo,ND College Station,TX
Boulder,CO Lake Charles,LA Grand Forks,ND Corpus Christi,TX
Denver,CO Monroe,LA Lincoln,NE Dallas,TX
Fort Collins,CO Shreveport,LA Omaha,NE Laredo,TX
Greeley,CO Boston,MA Manchester,NH Longview,TX
Bridgeport,CT Springfield,MA Ocean City,NJ McAllen,TX
New Haven,CT Cumberland,MD Syracuse,NY Midland,TX
Cape Coral,FL Lewiston,ME Cincinnati,OH Odessa,TX
Deltona,FL Ann Arbor,MI Springfield,OH Tyler,TX
Jacksonville,FL Detroit,MI Toledo,OH Victoria,TX
Miami,FL Grand Rapids,MI Youngstown,OH Provo,UT
North Port,FL Lansing,MI Oklahoma City,OK Salt Lake City,UT
Punta Gorda,FL Monroe,MI Tulsa,OK Danville,VA
Tampa,FL Muskegon,MI Corvallis,OR Winchester,VA
Athens,GA Duluth,MN Portland,OR Burlington,VT
Augusta,GA Minneapolis,MN Erie,PA Bellingham,WA
Honolulu,HI Rochester,MN Philadelphia,PA Kennewick,WA
Ames,IA Columbia,MO Pittsburgh,PA Madison,WI
Davenport,IA Jefferson City,MO Williamsport,PA Casper,WY
Des Moines,IA Joplin,MO Chattanooga,TN Cheyenne,WY
Dubuque,IA Kansas City,MO Clarksville,TN  
Waterloo,IA Hattiesburg,MS Kingsport,TN  

There were 29 new MSAs added to the list this month while seven were dropped. The 29 new metro areas added to the Index were Napa, CA, Deltona, FL, Miami, FL, North Port, FL, Tampa, FL, Elkhart, IN, Shreveport, LA, Boston, MA, Springfield, MA, Cumberland, MD, Lewiston, ME, Detroit, MI, Grand Rapids, MI, Duluth, MN, Rochester, MN, Jefferson City, MO, Kansas City, MO, Hattiesburg, MS, Omaha, NE, Ocean City, NJ, Syracuse, NY, Springfield, OH, Youngstown, OH, Portland, OR, Memphis, TN, Longview TX, Provo, UT, Salt Lake City, UT, Bellingham, WA, Kennewick, WA.

Seven MSAs were dropped from the list in February, up from five in January, and include San Jose, CA; Washington, D.C.; Kankakee, Ill.; New Orleans, LA; Worcester, MA.; Jackson, MS.; and Sherman, TX.

Bob Nielsen, the Chairman of NAMB, stated, “The number of improving housing markets has risen for six consecutive months, and 36 states now have at least one metropolitan area on the list. This indicates that despite the many challenges that continue to drag on a housing recovery – including the tight lending environment for builders and buyers – improving conditions are slowly but surely spreading from one housing market to the next.”

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