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U.S. Homebuilders’ Improving Markets Index (Text)

Following is the text of the Improving Markets Index (IMI) from the National Association of Home Builders.

New Improving Market Index Highlights Twelve Metro Areas Showing

Sustained Economic Recovery

Pittsburgh and New Orleans Among Those Included

Today the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released its first NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), a new economic index revealing metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in three key economic areas- -housing permits, employment and housing prices.

The list of metropolitan areas includes:

•Alexandria, LA •Anchorage, AK •Bangor, ME •Bismarck, ND •Casper, WY •Fairbanks, AK •Fayetteville, NC •Houma, LA •Midland, TX •New Orleans, LA •Pittsburgh, PA •Waco, TX

“Despite the challenging conditions in the national economy and housing sector, there are areas throughout the country where we are seeing pockets of improvement” said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. “Housing conditions are local, and do not always reflect the national picture. We created this new index to shine a light on those housing markets across the country that have stabilized and have begun to show signs of recovery.”

“By examining key indicators of home prices, employment and housing permits data, we are using a comprehensive, but conservative method in determining which markets are improving,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Last year at this time, there was not a single market that showed improvement using these criteria, and now we can point to 12 examples of growth.”

“It’s not surprising that many of the states represented are energy rich areas,” Crowe continued. “Those are the regions still experiencing relatively strong employment, supporting housing demand.”

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. 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. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate the list of improving markets.

Please visit www.nahb.org/imi for additional data, tables and a list of 2011 future economic release dates.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) will be 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 2011 release dates can be found at www.nahb.org/imi.

SOURCE: NAHB

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristy Scheuble in Washington at kmckeaney@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Marco Babic at mbabic@bloomberg.net

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