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Improving Markets List Includes Metros in Every State

Improving Markets List Includes Metros in Every State

Today's photos are those of Archival Designs' Best Selling, Award Winning, Pontarion II.

The number of improving housing markets continued to expand for a sixth consecutive month to a total of 259 metropolitan areas on the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for February, released on Feb. 6. This was up from 242 markets listed as improving in January, and included entrants from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.

A total of 20 new metros were added to the list and three were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros included such geographically diverse locations as Rome, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Racine, Wis. The fact that all 50 states now have at least one metro on the improving list shows that the housing recovery has substantial momentum and continues to expand from one market to the next, with just over 70% of the 361 metros covered by our index now making the list.

“That’s a far cry from when we initiated this index with just 12 improving metros in September of 2011 for the purpose of highlighting places that didn’t fit the mold of the national headlines,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Today, the story is about how widespread the recovery has become as conditions steadily improve in markets nationwide.”

Keep in mind that in order to be listed on the IMI, a metropolitan area must see improvement in each of three key measures of market strength (home price appreciation, single-family permits and employment) for at least six consecutive months following those measures’ respective troughs.

Builder Confidence in 55+ Market Continues to Improve

Builder confidence in the 55+ market for single-family homes showed continued improvement in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, according to NAHB's latest 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI), released on Feb. 7th. The index recorded a 10-point gain to 28, marking a fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvements. Although all components of the 55+ single-family HMI have yet to breach the critical 50 midpoint, they have improved significantly from a year ago. For example, the component measuring present sales climbed 10 points to 27, while expected sales for the next six months increased 12 points to 38 and traffic of prospective buyers rose nine points to 24 this time around.

While the 55+ multifamily condo HMI remained the weakest portion of our latest report, that segment did post an increase of six points to 19. And in fact, all components of the 55+ multifamily HMI increased compared to a year ago, with present sales up five points to 17, expected sales for the next six months up eight points to 25 and traffic of prospective buyers up six points to 21. Meanwhile, the 55+ multifamily rental indices, which had already recovered substantially in 2011, remained relatively stable in the fourth quarter. 

There was, however, a slight pullback due to uncertainty about the low-income housing tax credit -- the financial driver behind a significant portion of apartments built for this segment of the market. The component measuring current production dropped three points to 31, while the component measuring expectations for future production dipped one point to 34, the component gauging current demand for existing units declined four points to 38 and the component gauging expected future demand fell five points to 39.

Home Builders, Retired NFL Players Team Up for Charitable Efforts

NAHB Chairman Rick Judson was on location in New Orleans’ lower 9th Ward last weekend for the completion and unveiling of three new affordable homes built as part of a nationwide charitable outreach program between NAHB and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) called Touchdown for Homes. This unique endeavor is aimed at strengthening communities by building or renovating homes for children, families and veterans in need.

The New Orleans project, whose first phase was completed just in time for the Super Bowl, is the product of concerted efforts by the Louisiana HBA, the HBA of Greater New Orleans, NAHB and members of the New Orleans Former Players Chapter of the NFLPA. Local home builders and former NFL players worked with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority to secure deeds to the available land and get the work done in a remarkably speedy 51 days. And those three homes are only the beginning of Touchdown for Homes-Louisiana’s long-term goal to help revitalize the Lower 9th Ward following its devastation by Hurricane Katrina.

In fact, the program has earmarked 40 additional lots for development of similar new homes over the coming years. The homes that have just been completed were funded in part by a grant from the Home Building Industry Disaster Relief Fund, with many of the raw materials donated by community partners such as Lowe’s, Sherwin Williams and Southland Plumbing Supply & Lighting.

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  • Joanne Loftus
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