The number of improving U.S. housing markets was up in March 2013 for the seventh consecutive month. There are now 274 metro areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today. This is a net gain of 15 markets from February 2013 and includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The IMI reports on metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. The list added 34 new markets in March and 19 were dropped in March.
"This is the second consecutive month in which every state is represented by at least one metro on the improving list," observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, NC. "The expanding housing recovery is energizing communities nationwide by generating jobs and local tax revenues--and it could be an even more potent force for economic growth if credit for building and buying homes was more readily available."
"With just over 75% of the 361 metros covered by the IMI now seen as improving, the housing market is on considerably more solid footing than it was at this time last year," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "While we expect this positive momentum to continue, it's important to understand that many markets are just beginning the recovery process, and that numerous issues - from credit availability to the rising cost of building materials and emerging lot shortages - are slowing the pace of that advancement."
"With the understanding that there are still a lot of uncertainties in the regulatory arena, it looks like we are finally seeing the beginning of what could be a broad and deep recovery of the nation's housing market," added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.
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