While the total tally of home markets considered to be "improving" by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) stayed virtually flat in March—ticking up to 99 markets from 98 in February—the list itself offers a more tumultuous picture. Almost a third of the IMI’s listed markets, 31, were new after 30 markets that appeared on the list last month were dropped.
The index tracks markets around the country and lists an area once it has seen three consecutive months of growth in employment numbers, home prices, and single-family home permits. Most of the departures from last month’s IMI were due to softening prices, the NAHB reported.
The high level of turnover "is consistent with the NAHB’s projections for a gradual but patchy recovery in which some month-to-month softening is likely, particularly in places where the measurable gains have been very small," said David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist, in a press statement regarding the numbers. "The bottom line is that roughly one-quarter of all U.S. metropolitan areas are showing signs that their housing markets have turned the corner, which is a very positive development."
Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.