Housing market slowly returning to normal

by Ryan Smith06 Dec 2013
The housing market is slowly but surely returning to normal, according to data released today by the National Association of Home Builders.

The National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index indicates a nationwide housing market currently running at 86% of its normal pace. Markets in 54 out of about 350 metro areas have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of housing and economic activity, according to NAHB.

“This index shows that most housing markets across the nation are continuing a slow, gradual climb back to normal levels,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “Policymakers must guard against actions that could impede or even reverse the modest gains of the past year.”

Most of the 54 markets operating at or above normal levels are in smaller metro areas, according to the report.

“Smaller markets are leading the way, particularly where energy is the primary economic driver. Nearly half of the markets in the top 54 are in the energy states of Texas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana,” said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist.

Among major metro areas showing improvement, Baton Rouge, La., tops the list, currently operating 42% better than its last normal level, according to NAHB. Other cities operating above previous norms include Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Houston and Austin, Texas, and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Many markets that haven’t quite returned to normal are very close, according to the report. Out of the 350 metro areas surveyed, 125 are operating at 90% or better of previous norms.



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