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Twenty Metros Join List of Improving Housing Markets Index in December

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 - The number of improving housing markets continued
to expand for a fourth consecutive month in December, rising from 30 to
41 on the latest National Association of Home Builders/First American
Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today. The December list
featured 20 new additions, including several major markets such as
Washington, D.C.; San Jose, Calif.; and Toledo, Ohio. Meanwhile, nine
smaller markets dropped off the list, primarily due to softer house
prices.

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from
their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices
for at least six consecutive months.  

New entrants to the list in December include the following:

Ann Arbor, MI
Athens, GA
Boulder, CO
Burlington, VT
Canton, OH
Charleston, WV
Danville, VA
Fort Wayne, IN
Grand Forks, ND
Jackson, MS
Kingsport, TN
Laredo, TX
Lincoln, NE
Muncie, IN
Muskegon, MI
San Jose, CA
Scranton, PA
Toledo, OH
Washington, DC
Winchester, VA

"The increases we continue to see in the number and geographic diversity
of improving metros are quite encouraging, and evidence of the fact that
all housing markets are dependent on uniquely local factors," said NAHB
Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev. He noted that as of
December, a total of 21 states and the District of Columbia are
represented on the improving markets list -- up from14 states
represented in November.

"The December IMI results are very much in keeping with the latest
government housing data and our own builder surveys, which have shown
modest signs of improvement in certain individual markets where
employment is gaining and distressed properties are not as numerous,"
said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "These gradual improvements are
now becoming evident not just in small, energy-producing metros that
have previously dominated the IMI, but also in several larger markets
and areas with more diverse economies."

The nine markets that dropped off the IMI in December include
Alexandria, La.; Fairbanks, Alaska; Hinesville, Ga.; Houma, La.;
Jonesboro, Ark.; Lima, Ohio; Pine Bluff, Ark.; Sumter, S.C. and Waco,
Tex. All but two of these metros fell from the list due to softening
house prices. The exceptions to the rule were Jonesboro and Waco, where
declines were registered in employment and single-family housing
permits, respectively.

The total list of improving housing markets in December, as defined by
the IMI, includes the following 41 entries (listed alphabetically by
state):

Anchorage, AK 
San Jose, CA 
Boulder, CO
Fort Collins, CO
Washington, DC
Athens, GA
Davenport, IA 
Waterloo, IA
Kankakee, IL
Fort Wayne, IN
Muncie, IN
Monroe, LA
New Orleans, LA
Ann Arbor, MI 
Muskegon, MI
Jackson, MS
Fayetteville, NC 
Winston-Salem, NC
Bismarck, ND 
Grand Forks, ND 
Lincoln, NE 
Canton, OH 
Toledo, OH
Pittsburgh, PA
Scranton, PA
Williamsport, PA
Kingsport, TN 
Amarillo, TX
Corpus Christi, TX
Laredo, TX
McAllen, TX
Midland, TX
Odessa, TX
Sherman, TX
Tyler, TX
Danville, VA 
Winchester, VA
Burlington, VT
Charleston, WV
Casper, WY
Cheyenne, WY

The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that
are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three
sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving
Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed
are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price
appreciation from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permit growth
from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from
these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metro area must
see improvement in all three areas for at least six months following
their respective troughs before being included on the improving markets
list.

Please visit www.nahb.org/imi for additional data, tables and a list of
future economic release dates.

Editor's Note: The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) is
released on the fourth business day of each month at 10:00 a.m. ET,
unless that day falls on a Friday - in which case, the index will be
released the following Monday. A full calendar of future release dates
can be found at www.nahb.org/imi.

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a
Washington-based trade association representing more than 160,000
members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction,
property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building
product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light
commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local
home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members
will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for
this year. 

Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/NAHBMedia. 


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