The number of metro areas whose housing markets are on the up-and-up is growing, according to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index, which added nine new metro statistical areas (MSAs) to its list of improving markets in November, and dropped two.
The index tracks employment growth, home price appreciation, and housing permits across MSAs, and lists an area as officially improving once it has registered gains in all three areas for at least six consecutive months.
November’s list—a third of which is made up of Texas locations—is heavily weighted in favor of smaller cities with strong ties to jobs in energy and agriculture. Only two large cities, New Orleans and Pittsburgh, have made it onto the index.
The nine MSAs added this month include Cheyenne, Wyo.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Davenport, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colo.; Hinesville, Ga.; Lima, Ohio; Monroe, La.; Tyler, Texas; and Williamsport, Pa. The two areas that were dropped were Iowa City, Iowa, and Wichita Falls, Texas, due to declines in employment and permits, respectively.
November’s index was the first time Colorado, Georgia, and Ohio were represented on the three-month-old housing metric. However, having one area on the list is far from indicative of state-wide improvements.
"I look at permit numbers, and I don’t see any sign at all that any state is improving except for North Dakota," says Patrick Newport, U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. "If you look at Texas and Florida, they have very different experiences. In Texas, you didn’t have a big housing bubble, there wasn’t as much over building, and there aren’t as many homes underwater. In Florida, the situation is just the opposite, and yet [permits in] both states are just flat."
Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Cheyenne, WY, Corpus Christi, TX, Davenport, IA, Fort Collins, CO, Hinesville, GA, Lima, OH, Monroe, LA, Tyler, TX, Williamsport, PA, Wichita Falls, TX, Iowa City, IA, Greenville, SC, Atlanta, GA.