Texas tops the list in improving housing markets

An index by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) designed to track improving housing markets across the country has added nine more metro regions while dropping two cities. The November additions -- Cheyenne, Wyo.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Davenport, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colo.; Hinesville, Ga.; Lima, Ohio; Monroe, La.; Tyler, Texas; and Williamsport, Pa. -- raise the number from 23 to 30 metro areas.

The two cities dropped from the NAHB’s First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) in November were Iowa City and Wichita Falls. These areas experienced declines in their employment and permit data, respectively.

"Texas continues to dominate the list of improving housing markets in November, increasing its net number of entries to eight and continuing a trend in which energy-producing metros seem to be doing better than the average," said NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev. "Meanwhile, the geographic diversity of metros also continued to expand this month, with the states of Colorado, Georgia and Ohio all represented for the first time. This is further evidence that all housing markets are uniquely dependent upon local conditions, and some are leading the way toward an eventual, broader recovery."

"The November IMI remains heavily weighted by smaller cities, with Pittsburgh and New Orleans as the only major metros represented," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "This is indicative of the tough conditions that continue to prevail across much of the country, particularly in larger markets that have been hit hardest by job losses and foreclosures during the recession and that will take more time to heal. However, momentum is building in pockets of the country where energy and agriculture are the dominant industries and where consistent, measurable improvements in economic conditions are now becoming apparent."

Overall, the index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in housing permits, employment and housing prices. The following metros were listed in November:

• Alexandria, La.;
• Amarillo, Texas;
• Anchorage, Alaska;
• Bismarck, N.D.;
• Casper, Wy.;
• Cheyenne, Wy.;
• Corpus Christi, Texas;
• Davenport, Iowa;
• Fairbanks, Ark.;
• Fayetteville, N.C.;
• Fort Collins, Colo.;
• Hinesville, Ga.;
• Houma, La.;
• Jonesboro, Ark.;
• Kankakee, Ill.;
• Lima, Ohio;
• McAllen, Texas;
• Midland, Texas;
• Monroe, La.;
• New Orleans;
• Odessa, Texas;
• Pine Bluff, Ark.; and
• Pittsburgh.

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