Markets in 56 of about 350 metro areas nationwide have returned to or exceeded normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders. That’s a net gain of two over the previous month’s NAHB/First American Leading Markets index, which collates employment data, housing prices and single-family home permits. The index indicates that the country as a whole is currently running at 86% of normal housing and economic activity.
“More markets are slowly returning to normal levels and we expect this upward trend to continue as an improving economy and pent-up demand brings more home buyers back into the marketplace,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “Policymakers must be careful to avoid actions that would harm consumer confidence and impede the ongoing recovery.”
“Forty-five percent of metro areas are recovering at a faster pace than the nation as a whole, with smaller markets leading the way,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “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.”
Meanwhile, more than 35% of the housing markets surveyed in the index are operating at 90% of previous norms or better – a good sign that the recovery will continue into 2014, according to NAHB.
Housing markets across the nation are continuing to show gradual improvement, according to data released Tuesday.