The list of housing markets showing measurable improvement expanded by 29 metropolitan areas in February 2012 and now stands at 98 entries on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). 36 states now have at least one market on the list.
The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
The February index adds some areas that have been particularly weak –the IMI measures improvement from a bottom, and some of the hardest hit markets are now coming off of their lows. Notable new entrants in February include Miami, FL; Boston; Detroit; Kansas City, MO; Portland, OR; Memphis, TN; and Salt Lake City.
The IMI has now improved for six consecutive months. "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," noted NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, NV.
"While many of the markets on the February IMI are far from fully recovered, the index points out where employment, home prices, and housing production are no longer retreating and have held above their lowest recession troughs for six months or more," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "This is a sign that a large cross section of the country is starting to turn the corner as local economic conditions stabilize."
"The fact that there are nearly 100 markets now on the improving list shows that the momentum is building for a housing recovery and that more buyers and sellers are starting to feel confident enough to return to the market," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.
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