The list of U.S. housing markets that showed measurable and sustained improvement dropped by four, from 84 to 80, in August 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). This number includes representatives from 32 states plus the District of Columbia.
Shifting home prices caused nine markets to fall from the list, while 75 markets that retained their places and five new ones were added.
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 five metros that were added to the list this month include Miami and Palm Bay, Fla.; Hinesville, Ga.; Terre Haute, Ind.; and Lubbock, Texas.
"The list of improving housing markets in August includes metros across every region of the country, all of which have distinctly different characteristics in terms of their economic and employment bases as well as other factors," noted Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "One thing that most markets have in common, however, is the tight lending environment for both builders and buyers that continues to drag on their positive momentum."
"The fact that we continue to see a strong core of metros showing up on the improving list each month adds to the growing evidence that the emerging housing recovery has a solid foundation on which to build as housing returns to its traditional role of driving economic growth," observed NAHB chief economist David Crowe.
For a complete list of all 84 metropolitan areas currently on the NAHB/IMI index, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in August, click here.