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More Metros Improve in December 2012 – Improving Markets Index Adds 41
David Crowe / NAHB / January 7, 2013
The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for January increased to 242, adding a net 41 more markets to the 201 in December. The total represents two-thirds of all the eligible metropolitan areas (OMB designated metropolitan statistical areas with data available). All but two states have at least one metro on the list (Wyoming and New Mexico). Leading states are Texas with 20 metros on the list, California with 17 and Florida with 15. Only 6 metros were dropped from the list because of a dip in home prices while 47 metros were added primarily because house prices are above their level six months ago.
A metropolitan area makes the list if three elementary indicators of economic and housing health improve for at least six months: single-family housing permits, employment and home prices. House prices have been the make-or-break component in the three measures of the IMI. Increases in the national house prices indexes are the result of a wide array of individual markets experiencing house price increases. Hence, the IMI reflects that improvement and more metros are added to the list of improving.