The number of housing markets considered ‘improving’ according to parameters established by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) surged by 76 to a total of 201 metros in December. The index also shows that the number of states represented on the list by at least one metro increased from 38 in November to 44 plus the District of Columbia.
A total of 84 new metros were added to the list and eight were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Atlanta; Bloomington, Ill.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Seattle; and Green Bay, Wis.
‘This fourth consecutive month of expansion in the IMI, coupled with the fact that well over half of all metro areas are now represented on the list, is in keeping with the upward trends that we've been seeing all year in terms of housing starts and sales, builder confidence and other measures,’ says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. ‘In general, we expect the overall housing recovery to continue expanding in 2013. However, that is absent a major policy change of the kind that some policymakers have been discussing with regard to the mortgage interest deduction.’
A complete list of all 201 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in December, is available online.