A total of 247 metropolitan areas across 49 states and the District of Columbia qualified for inclusion on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for August. This number is down from 255 metros in July, but it is about three times the number of metros that qualified for the list in August 2012.
“In all, 244 metros that were listed as improving in July retained that status in August, and this is an encouraging sign of the continuing housing recovery,” noted NAHB chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “That said, we know that the pace of improvement is being hampered somewhat by challenges that builders and buyers are experiencing with regard to the availability of credit, materials, lots for development and labor.”
The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Three new markets were added to the list and 11 dropped from it in August. Newly added metros this month include Kankakee, Ill., Atlantic City and Ocean City, N.J.
“While the number of improving housing markets this August remains well ahead of the same month last year, the index is affected by seasonal softening in home prices just as we saw happen in 2012. The metros that fell off the list this month originally qualified with very small home price improvements that have since slipped back,” explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As house prices return to more normal levels in fully recovered markets, further IMI advancements will be more modest.”
A complete list of all 247 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in August, is available at nahb.org/imi.