Following fluctuating figures throughout the American housing market, this month has shown substantial stability, as there are still more than 270 metropolitan areas nationwide that are considered improving.
According to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index, each American state - including the District of Columbia - is represented on the list. During April, the total number of currently improving markets declined by just one, as five new metro areas were added to the index and six dropped.
Those areas which were recently introduced to the list range in location, and include Macon, Georgia.; Portland, Maine; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; Eugene, Oregon; and Jackson, Tennessee. In order to determine whether a certain residential sector is considered to be improving, the organizations factor the number of housing permits given, employment and public property records and housing prices for at least six consecutive months.
"After a strong run-up through late 2012 and early 2013, the number of improving markets is holding steady at a high level," said David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB. "We can expect to see more gradual gains going forward as challenges related to increased demand kick in - including everything from tightened supplies of developable lots and labor to the rising cost of building materials."
Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company, said he believes the outlook for local economies will see significant improvement this spring, as three-quarters of the country is currently seeing gains.
National consumer sentiment ticks up one point in March
Amid apparent the stability and possible strengthening of the national housing market and overall economy, consumers may be feeling more confident with their savings and future finances. A recent report released by the Siena Research Institute saw the monthly Index of the Consumer Sentiment for the nation move up by one point, to total 78.6 in March.
"Nationally the economic mood brightened ever so slightly climbing by a single point," said Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and founding director of SRI. "The largest declines, and the drag on the overall index, was a weakening in hopefulness towards the future across nearly all groups."
While consumer plans to purchase cars and trucks reportedly saw increases, buying plans for residential housing purchases saw a slight decrease.
As fewer foreclosed houses begin to populate regional residential sectors, mortgage rate averages continue to show positive weekly developments and inventory levels cease to climb exponentially, next month's report may contain different numbers.