Housing Upturn Seen in 100 Cities

By Peter King,

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Nearly 100 U.S. housing markets are now regarded as "improving," with home prices and other indicators coming back from post-crash lows, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

That represents an increase of nearly one-third since last month, to a total of 98 communities, the NAHB announced today. New additions to the list include some of the nation's worst-hit markets, Miami and Detroit among them.


"The number of improving housing markets has risen for six consecutive months, and 36 states now have at least one metropolitan area on the list," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen. "This indicates that despite the many challenges that continue to drag on a housing recovery - including the tight lending environment for builders and buyers - improving conditions are slowly but surely spreading from one housing market to the next."


Employment, permits and home prices up


To be regarded as improving, a local housing market must show heightened levels of employment, building permits and home prices over the past six months, as compared to post-crash lows. An additional 36 metropolitan areas were added to the list in February, while seven were dropped due to softening prices.


The fact that so many areas are maintaining improved figures for all three indicators over half a year is an indication that a large portion of the country is seeing the beginnings of an economic recovery, according to David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. Even so, he noted that many of the markets remain weak, with only small improvements over their post-crash lows.


However, the overall direction of the trend was regarded as a positive sign.


"The fact that there are nearly 100 markets now on the improving list shows that the momentum is building for a housing recovery and that more buyers and sellers are starting to feel confident enough to return to the market," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company, which co-produces the Improving Markets Index with the NAHB. 


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance Real Estate
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