Monday, February 13, 2012

The number of housing markets showing measurable improvement expanded by 29 metros in February to include a total of 98 markets listed on the Improving Markets Index published monthly by First American and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Thirty-six states are now represented by at least one market on the list.

The index tracks those housing markets that are showing signs of improvement in overall economic health, based on growth in employment, home price appreciation, and increases in single-family housing permits. The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement in each of these three areas for at least six consecutive months.

The 29 metros added to the index in February include:

  • Napa, California
  • Deltona, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • North Port, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Augusta, Georgia
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Cumberland, Maryland
  • Lewiston, Maine
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Ocean City, New Jersey
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Springfield, Ohio
  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Longview, Texas
  • Provo, Utah
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Bellingham, Washington
  • Kennewick, Washington

In releasing the new list, First American and NAHB noted that the additions include some metros that have been “particularly weak” in terms of the index measurements, which assess improvements from cycle troughs in employment, home prices, and housing permits.

Some of the hardest hit markets are showing signs of coming off of extreme lows, according to the index’s creators. They highlighted notable new entrants to the list as Miami, Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, Portland, Memphis, and Salt Lake City.

“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.

Seven markets dropped from the Improving Markets Index in February as they experienced softening house prices. These metros include San Jose, California; Washington, D.C.; Kankakee, Illinois; New Orleans, Louisiana; Worcester, Massachusetts; Jackson, Mississippi; and Sherman, Texas.

A complete list of all 98 metropolitan areas currently on the Improving Markets Index is available at: 

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