Number of improving markets drops 20%

The volatility of the improving-markets index points up the uncertainty in the housing sector. Most major cities still don't make the list.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jun 13, 2012 12:09PM

© JupiterimagesThe number of housing markets listed as improving dropped this month, underscoring the fragility of any housing recovery that may be under way.


The number of cities on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index dropped from 100 in May to just 80 in June.


"The shifting of some markets off the IMI in June underscores the fragile nature of the housing recovery as well as the fact that many locations that previously made the list had recorded only marginal house-price gains, which were easily wiped out by small downward changes," NAHB chief economist David Crowe said in a news release.


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To be deemed an improving market, a metro area must show improvement in building permits, employment and home prices for at least six months.

The number of markets on the list had hovered around 100 for the past three months.


Most of the cities on the list are smaller metro areas, though Phoenix; Washington, D.C.; Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; and Pittsburgh remained on the list. They were joined this month by Dallas, San Antonio and Knoxville, Tenn., as well as 24 smaller cities.

Among the 48 cities falling off the list in June were Denver; Jacksonville, Fla.; Indianapolis; Portland, Ore.; and Nashville, Tenn.


"The volatility of this index mirrors the uncertain economic conditions in some of our nation’s individual markets," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Co., in a news release. "The fact remains, however, that real-estate fundamentals are still improving in many areas across the country."

So has the housing market hit bottom? Or does this list indicate that we still have a way to go?


The Wall Street Journal's "Developments" blog posed the "have we hit bottom" question to six experts last week, before this list was published. Among the responses:

  • Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Holdings: "I think we’re either at or very, very near the bottom, and that prices will stabilize on a national basis this year. … Prices will come back more rapidly in some markets than others — largely along the lines of how healthy local economies are — but nationally, we probably won’t see significant, sustainable home-price appreciation until 2015."
  • Glenn Kelman, CEO of the real-estate brokerage Redfin: "We hit the bottom last year. I don’t think that means it’s going to be a V-shaped recovery. There will be ups and downs, and sales volume isn’t going to recover in any meaningful way. You’ve got the investor demand and you’ve got some homebuyers who qualify, but you don’t have the breadth and depth for a bull market for a real rally that is national in scope."
Until the many good people in the home mortgage industry realize that they must come forward and tell the truth about what their employers are really doing to take advantage of the billions in taxpayer bailouts while only helping a few. How many homeless and broken families can they put out on the street without feeling anything?  For those on the inside should know they are protected by the Whistle Blower laws and might even qualify for a reward of 10 -30%. Tell the truth and clear your conscience.  Google Whistle Blower and step forward to save Americans.
Jun 13, 2012 3:03PM
Why can't the President help you? You really mean the taxpayers don't you? Put your hands back in your own pockets and help yourself..
Jun 13, 2012 3:02PM

It's really comical reading some of the comments here.  "Why can't the president help us?" What you shoud be asking is "WHY CAN'T THE CONGRESS HELP US?" The president doesn't allocate or appropriate funds, that's the Congress' job. The president has sent Congress a jobs bill, but Congress will not act on it becasue the Tea Party Nazis in the House have no interest in improving this economy.  They rather have this economy tank than do anything that could possibly make the president look good.

The jobs bill Obama has sent to congress will put over a million people back to work. That million people can be both Government jobs and private sector jobs. Fixing roads, bridges, sewer lines, water lines (just ask the people in Southern California about outdate water lines...) schools, etc., can be done by government employees or private contractors. If it's private contractors, someone has to pay them--the Government; they're not going to do it for free. It's much cheaper  to maintain than to rebuild once it has crumbled. But, do the Tea party Nazis understand that?  Sure they do!  but they don't care....

As the infrastructure improves, business picks up, property values go up. So, you bleeding hearts!  Ask your congressional representative, "WHY AREN'T YOU HELPING ME??"

Jun 13, 2012 2:54PM
can you say Obamahahahaha in bed with the big banks, huge donors of leftist socialism/marxism. the banking system is in bed with the democrats because they can control peoples lives with their money and our government lets them have their way. keep those campaign donations rolling in brotha!
Jun 13, 2012 2:43PM
The banks were holding properties for the last year because the government got after them due to their rubber stamp foreclosures.  I bought a house a year and a half ago and while I was looking, I saw some distressed properties.  Those bank homed homes are in hideous condition - unbelievable.  You would have to be a contractor or someone with lots of money to spend on repairs to buy one of them.  First off, if the homeowner couldn't afford the mortgage payment, they couldn't afford to maintain the house either.  Secondly, when evicted, lots of them trashed the place.  I couldn't believe my eyes. 
Jun 13, 2012 2:05PM
Where is this recovery?  Media lies and it no longer reports any truth..
Jun 13, 2012 2:04PM
I bought stock and the stock went down.  Why can't the president help me??????
Jun 13, 2012 2:03PM
'Shaky'????? How about NON-EXISTENT. Plus, bear in mind, prices going up and calling it a recovery when you are starting low, is HARDLY a recovery!
Jun 13, 2012 2:03PM
Jun 13, 2012 2:01PM
Please people.... stop listening to national news about Real Estate!!! ALL the matters is what is going on where you live. If you need stats on your local market, talk to a trusted Realtor in the area you are interested in. I care about national real estate averages just as much as I do the national weather average. It's more important to know what is going on where I live. 
Jun 13, 2012 1:58PM
Shaky?  The entire market is wrought with corruption and fraud.  Shaky is just a nice way to put the actual reality.  Who invented the mortage schedule anyway...shhheeeeshhh
Jun 13, 2012 1:42PM
I am a Veteran. We are almost $200,000 underwater in our home.  We have always paid our payments on time.  We need to be able to refinance at a lower interest rate. We have a servicer who does not care. Why can't the President help us???????  
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