With home prices and sales posting strong year-over-year gains throughout 2012, news of additional improving housing markets should come as no surprise, as the National Association of Home Builders has revealed the list of improving housing markets grew in January.
According to the Improving Markets Index, the number of homes considered healthy increased for the fifth month in a row, to include 242 markets in the first month of 2013, up from 201 noted as improving in December. Additionally, 48 states along with the District of Columbia are now represented.
"The IMI has almost doubled in the past two months as stronger demand during prime home buying season boosted prices across a broader number of metropolitan areas," said David Crowe, chief economist of NAHB. "Similar home price gains, and hence the IMI, may be tempered in the future as we see data from typically slower months for home sales."
Forty-seven new metropolitan statistical areas were added to the list, while six were dropped. Some cities that have posted gains in recent months include Los Angeles, Auburn, Des Moines, Nashville, Richmond and Cleveland. With representation from more states, the recovery appears to be aiding all regions, including those hit hardest by the housing market slump in recent years. The six MSAs removed from the list include Montgomery, Alabama; Crestville and Sebastian, Florida; Evansville, Indiana; Vineland, New Jersey and Lima, Ohio.
Matching real estate property records from previous years, mortgage applications and home sales were slow in December, which will likely reflect in a dormant or decreased list of improving housing markets in coming months. However, widespread improvements in building will keep housing permit growth up in many cities and the overall economic stabilization should keep employment growth data positive throughout the new year.
Chairman of First American Title Insurance Company, Kurt Pfotenhauer, advises prospective buyers to make the investment when factors on the rise, as buying in a healthy market is important. He also notes that higher prices and improved economic situations should motivate Americans to become homeowners, as a larger list of improving markets is positive for professionals and consumers alike.