NAHB’s monthly Improving Markets Index for May featured 17 new metropolitan areas across the nation making their first appearance. At the same time, 18 metro areas dropped off the index, resulting in a net loss of 1, bringing the total down to an even 100. The number of states represented on the list stayed the same, with 35 states and the District of Columbia now accounted for.
Those cities appearing on the IMI for the first time included: Phoenix; Pensacola, Fla.; Hinesville, Ga.; Warner Robins, Ga.; Bloomington, Ind.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Barnstable Town, Mass.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Niles, Mich.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Bend, Ore.; Reading, Pa.; Johnson City, Tenn.; Lubbock, Texas; San Angelo, Texas; and Harrisonburg, Va.
While the IMI has reached something of a plateau in recent months, NAHB members point to continued signs of improvement.
“The overall number of markets on the IMI continued to plateau this month, with more than a quarter of all U.S. metros still showing signs of improvement,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Many of these are relatively small markets in terms of their population and building volume, which is why their improvement is barely registering on the national scale as of yet. Moreover, we are seeing some shifting of markets on and off the list primarily due to small seasonal house price changes in areas that have had flat, stable prices rather than a boom-and-bust cycle.”
The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau.
A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.
To see the rest of the May Improving Markets Index, click here .