Housing starts have reached a record high, thanks to the 291 improving housing markets in metropolitan areas across the United States. The National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index, or IMI, released this figure Monday, September 9th.
This shows a gain of 44 markets since August 2013 and marks the index’s highest numbers since it was created in 2011.
The Improving Markets Index identifies metro areas that have shown improvement in their employment, housing prices, and housing permits for six or more consecutive months. This month, 242 markets retained their improvement rate, while 49 new metropolitan markets joined their ranks.
These recent additions have come from across the United States, in places such as Macon, Georgia; Spokane, Washington; and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
“Just over 80 percent of the 361 metros tracked by our index are showing consistent growth in three key measures of housing market strength – prices, permits and employment,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a homebuilder himself from Charlotte, North Carolina. He went on to explain that while there is still a lot of growth potential in the housing market, this is great news for homebuilders across the country and the market is truly recovering.
“The dramatic increase in markets qualifying for the IMI in September was partly due to a recent improvement in the way that Freddie Mac measures home prices, which resulted in stronger gains than previously reported,” explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. He continued, “Even so, the broadened list of metros on the IMI continues to demonstrate the slow but steady gains that individual housing markets are making to bolster the national outlook.”
The IMI was created to follow housing markets across the US experiencing signs of growth. Three sets of independent monthly data are examined to learn about which markets are doing well, and a market must experience at least six months of growth in order to be included on the improving markets list, so the 292 markets listed truly earned their tank.
A list of all improving markets is available on the NAHB website.
While the NAHB stands behind the figures collected by the IMI, they are phasing it out starting October 2013 and rolling out a new, improved index. Stay tuned for more information from Builder PR.