The number of metropolitan areas that are considered to have improving housing markets grew yet again this month, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said in a recent report.
According to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) the number of metropolitan areas with “improving” housing markets grew to 242 in January.
On month earlier in December, the number of metropolitan areas with improving housing markets stood at 201. The growth of the list in January marks the fifth straight month of expansion.
“The IMI has almost doubled in the past two months as stronger demand during prime home buying season boosted prices across a broader number of metropolitan areas,” David Crowe, NAHB Chief Economist, said in a statement.
Crowe also hinted at a slowdown in the expansion of improving markets.
“Similar home price gains, and hence the IMI, may be tempered in the future as we see data from typically slower months for home sales,” he said.
The IMI is measures housing market health throughout the country and considers a specific market as improving if it has seen growth in three separate factors for at least six straight months: housing permits, jobs and home prices.
“We created the improving markets list in September of 2011 to spotlight individual metros where — contrary to the national headlines — housing markets were on the mend,” Barry Rutenberg, NAHB Chairman, said in a statement.
In the latest data, 47 new metropolitan areas were added to the “improving” list while six fell from the list. Areas added to the improving list include metros include Los Angeles, CA; Nashville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Cleveland, OH.
“Today, 242 out of 361 metros nationwide appear on that list, including representatives from almost every state in the country,” Rutenberg said. “The story is no longer about exceptions to the rule, but about the growing breadth of the housing recovery even as overly strict mortgage requirements hold back the pace of improvement.”