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Economic and Job Growth Pushing Housing Slowly Toward ‘Normal’ Levels

home-protection [1]The housing market is slowly but surely inching closer to normal levels with the help of economic and job growth.

According to the National Association of Home Builders [2] (NAHB)/First American Leading Markets Index [3](LMI) released Thursday, markets in 75 of the approximately 360 metro areas nationwide have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the second quarter of 2015. This is an increase of 13 markets year-over-year.

“The markets are gradually improving and economic and job growth continue to strengthen, which bodes well for housing for the remainder of the year,” said Tom Woods, NAHB chairman and a home builder and developer from Blue Springs, Missouri.

The NAHB reported that the index's score increased on point to .92, which means that the nationwide average is at 92 percent of normal economic and housing activity. Although this increase may seem marginal, this one point rise up places the market closer to the one point goal, indicating that it has returned to normal. In addition, 66 percent of markets have shown improvement year-over-year.

“Of the three elements in the LMI (house prices, permits, and employment), house prices have had the broadest recovery, with 345 markets returning to or exceeding their last normal level,” said David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist. “Meanwhile, 64 markets have met or exceeded their normal employment levels. The housing permit level has made the least progress toward normality, with only 26 markets at or above their last normal level.”

The index found that Baton Rouge, Louisiana continues to top the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.47, 47 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros leading the list include Austin, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii; Houston, Texas; and Oklahoma City. Rounding out the top ten are San Jose, California; Los Angeles, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Nashville, Tennessee.

NAHB Graph [4]