The list of U.S. housing markets showing measurable and sustained improvement now includes 80 metropolitan areas, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for June. Though down from the 100 markets shown as improving in May, the list includes 28 new entrants and at least one representative from 31 different states (including the District of Columbia).
The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. This month’s IMI showed some considerable shifting of markets on and off the list, with 52 metros holding on to their spots, 48 slipping from the list, and 28 being added. Notable new entrants to the improving list in June include Tuscaloosa, Ala., Grand Junction, Colo., Fargo, N.D., Knoxville, Tenn., and Dallas, Tex.
The shifting of some markets off the IMI in June underscores the fragile nature of the housing recovery as well as the fact that many locations that previously made the list had recorded only marginal house price gains, which were easily wiped out by small downward changes. However, the fact that multiple new areas are showing up on the list each month is encouraging, and highlights the degree to which local economic and job market conditions are what drive individual housing markets.
A complete list of all 80 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of newly added to or dropped from the list in June, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.
For the metro Denver area, Boulder was included on the improving markets list, with Denver and Fort Collins dropped from the list. Denver is expected to return to the list in short order as the market for Denver homes and Denver real estate in general continues to rebound.