Housing Market Gradually Picks up Steam

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), which recently replace NAHB’s improving market index (IMI), indicates markets in 56 of the 350 major metro markets returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic activity, indicating a net gain of two over the previous month. Based on current permits, prices and employment data, LMI data for December indicates the nationwide market is operating at 86 percent of normal economic and housing activity. Says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, “Forty-five percent of metro areas are recovering at a faster pace than the nation as a whole, with smaller markets leading the way. Of the 56 markets that are at or above normal levels, 48 of them have populations that are less than 500,000, and many of these local metros are fueled by a strong energy sector, which is producing solid job and economic growth.”

MHProNews has learned Baton Rouge, Louisiana is the top large metro area with an LMI of 1.42—42 percent above its last normal market level, followed by Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin and Houston, Texas, and Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Co., which co-sponsors the LMI report, adds, “More than 35 percent of all the markets on this month’s LMI are operating at a capacity of 90 percent or better of previous norms, which is a good sign that the housing recovery will continue to pick up steam in 2014.”

(Photo credit: Ryan Garza/flintjournal.com)

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