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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Housing Markets Continue to Show Gradual Improvement

Housing Markets Continue to Show Gradual ImprovementMarkets in 56 out of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI). This represents a net gain of two from the previous month. The index’s nationwide score of .86 indicates that, based on current permits, prices, and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 86 percent of normal economic and housing activity.

Baton Rouge, La., tops the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.42—or 42 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros at the top of the list include Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin, and Houston, Texas, as well as Harrisburg, Pa., and Pittsburgh—all of whose LMI scores indicate that their market activity now exceeds previous norms.

Looking at smaller metros, both Odessa and Midland, Texas, boast LMI scores of 2.0 or better, meaning that their markets are now at double their strength prior to the recession. Also at the top of the list of smaller metros are Casper, Wyo.; Bismarck, N.D.; and Grand Forks, N.D., respectively.

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