More Markets Slowly Inch Toward ‘Normal’

August 8, 2014

About 16 percent of 350 metro areas tracked nationwide have returned or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index. Year-over-year, the index has gained seven markets.

Seventy-eight percent of the total markets tracked have shown improvement in the past year. The index identifies the markets that have begun to recover by identifying the areas that are approaching or exceeding their previous normal levels of economic and housing activity by factoring in average new-home permits, home prices, and employment levels for the past 12 months and weighing it against metros’ annual average over the last period of normal growth.

"Things are gradually improving," says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly. "As the job market grows, we expect to see a steady release of pent up demand of home buyers."

Topping the list of major metros showing some of the biggest improvement continues to be Baton Rouge, La., which has a housing market and economy that is performing 39 percent better than its previous normal market levels. Other major metros topping their previous normals are:

  • Honolulu
  • Oklahoma City
  • Houston and Austin, Texas
  • Los Angeles
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Salt Lake City
  • Des Moines
  • New Orleans

Among smaller metros, Odessa and Midland Texas, continue to have markets that are performing at double their strength prior to the Great Recession, according to the index. Other top-performing smaller metros include:

  • Bismarck, N.D.
  • Grand Forks, N.D.
  • Casper, Wyo.

Source: National Association of Home Builders