Posted September 12, 2013

Improving Market Index Leaps To Include 291 U.S. Housing Markets

The NAHB Improving Market Index reaches an all-time high in September 2013

The NAHB Improving Market Index reaches an all-time high in September 2013

As the housing market goes, so goes the broader U.S. economy.

The housing market bottomed in October 2011 and has since shown steady, consistent growth. It's no surprise, therefore, that the U.S. economy has done the same, creating a definitive end to last decade's recession.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the economic revival is spreading from city-to-city. 80% of the country's major metropolitan areas are now "improving" --  a term reserved for cities meeting specific growth metrics. It's a near 3-fold improvement versus one year ago.

Click here to get today's mortgage rates.

Improving Market Index : "Measurable And Sustained Growth"

Each month, the National Association of Homebuilders publishes its Improving Market Index (IMI), a report which highlights metropolitan area in which general general economic growth is occurring. 

In this way, the IMI is not a housing market metric, nor it is home valuation tracker as one might classify the S&P Case-Shiller Index or the Federal Home Finance Agency's Home Price Index; which may report such housing market facts as "home prices are rising in Seattle, Washington".

Rather, the NAHB's Improving Market Index pools three separate data series for each of its 361 U.S. metropolitan areas and determine whether the local economy of is currently expanding or contracting. Only when each of the three data points can demonstrate measurable and sustained growth will the NAHB deem the area "improving".

The Improving Market Index uses the following three data series :

  1. Employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. Home Price Growth from Freddie Mac
  3. Single-Family Housing Growth from the U.S. Census Bureau

To be considered "improving" and to be included on the NAHB Improving Market Index list, a given metropolitan area must show growth in each of the three series from the immediate month prior, and at least six months must have passed since each of the series' most recent troughs.

Click here to get today's mortgage rates.

Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois Improving

The number of U.S. metropolitan areas on the NAHB Improving Markets Index list climbed by 44 in September to 291 overall. This marks the second-largest monthly gain since the index launched two years ago.

Newly-added cities to the IMI for September include :

  • Bloomington, Indiana 
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The inclusion of these 5 cities on the Improving Market Index list is significant because each was hit during last decade's housing market downtown, as were the following five cities which have maintained their "improving" classification for September :

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • San Francisco, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Seattle, Washington

The September 2013 Improving Market Index includes cities from all 50 states for the first time, and from the District of Columbia. 49 new metropolitan areas were added to the index for January. Just 5 dropped off.

Those five cities were Kankakee, Illinois; Burlington, Jacksonville, and Winston, North Carolina; and, Danville, Virginia. 

Get Today's Mortgage Rates 

For bona fide real estate investors and today's active home buyers, the Improving Market Index can serve as a real estate opportunity roadmap. It lists cities experiencing broad-based economic growth which, not surprisingly, may also be good cities in which to invest in real estate.

Home prices are rising in most U.S. markets and mortgage rates have followed. If your 2013 housing plans include buying new property, you may find your best mortgage rates and lowest long-term costs by acting sooner rather than later. Get started with a rate quote. See how today's mortgage rates can fit your household budget.

Click here to get today's mortgage rates.

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.

3 Testimonials

Felicia M. Law Enforcement

The Mortgage Reports has been a valuable asset to me. I love that each topic is fully explained in terms that can be easily understood. I've learned more from this web site than from any first-time buyer education class.

Barry L.

I enjoy reading The Mortgage Reports. The articles are informative with lots of good stats and trends.

Stefan J.

The Mortgage Reports is invaluable. It's our primary source for information on housing finance.

2014 Conforming & FHA Loan Limits

Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county,
as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, and the FHA.