Housing markets are back at their pre-recession levels or better in 52 metro areas, according to a new study.
That leaves 298 metro areas still running below pre-recession levels, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index, released Monday. The nationwide housing market is currently running at 85% of normal activity, according to the index.
“This index helps illustrate how far the U.S. housing recovery has come, and also how much further it has to go as we continue to face some significant headwinds in terms of credit availability, rising costs for lots and labor, and uncertainties regarding Washington policymaking,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
Baton Rouge, La., has shown the biggest recovery among major metropolitan areas, with housing market activity currently 41% better than its pre-recession level. Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin and Houston, Texas, and Harrisburg, Pa., are also exceeding pre-recession activity.
Some smaller metros are doing even better, according to the index. Both Odessa and Midland, Texas, are at double their pre-recession strength.
“Smaller metros are leading the way to a housing recovery, accounting for 43 of the top 50 markets on the current LMI,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This is very much in keeping with the results of our previous index for improving markets, and is an indication of the extent to which local economic conditions dictate the strength of individual housing markets.”