Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MARKET TRENDS: Bright Metropolitan Markets

There are bright spots in the real estate market! The National Association of Home Builders' First American Improving Markets Index reveals that key metropolitan areas have shown recent improvement in housing permits, employment, and housing prices.

This is a vast improvement over last year's numbers, which showed no growth at all. Today, there are 12 areas seeing growth.

"Despite the challenging conditions in the national economy and housing sector, there are areas throughout the country where we are seeing pockets of improvement," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. "Housing conditions are local, and do not always reflect the national picture. We created this new index to shine a light on those housing markets across the country that have stabilized and have begun to show signs of recovery."

These growth markets are calculated by analyzing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) growth numbers, house price data from Freddie Mac, and permit data from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the NAHB, "A metro 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." This index is designed to track housing across the country in order to identify areas of improving economic health.

"It’s not surprising that many of the states represented are energy rich areas," says NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "Those are the regions still experiencing relatively strong employment, supporting housing demand."

Louisiana had three markets on the list and Texas had two. Thanks to certain strong market segments, some Southern markets hit less hard by the ailing economy.
The improving metropolitan markets are found all across the country, though.
  • Alexandria, LA 
  • Anchorage, AK 
  • Bangor, ME 
  • Bismarck, ND 
  • Casper, WY 
  • Fairbanks, AK 
  • Fayetteville, NC 
  • Houma, LA 
  • Midland, TX 
  • New Orleans, LA 
  • Pittsburgh, PA 
  • Waco, TX
These figures are welcome news after recent reports of stock market jitters, declines in consumer confidence, and weak housing prices. The United States has many diverse markets and micro-econoimies. Time will tell if more areas are added to this growing list.

Carla Hill September 8, 2011

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