The National Association of Home Builders’ Leading Markets Index scores individual housing markets based on their average permit, price, and employment levels for the past 12 months compared to their last period of normal growth. According to the most recent release, 86 percent of markets across the country have shown an improvement year-over-year. Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, says home prices are the strongest of the index’s components. “Among the LMI components, house prices continue to make the most widespread gains, with 324 markets having returned to or exceeded their last normal levels,” Dietz said. “Meanwhile, 66 metros have reached or exceeded normal employment activity. Single-family permits have inched up to 49 percent of normal activity, but remain the lagging part of the index.” Overall 119 of the approximately 340 metropolitan areas covered by the index have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity as of the first quarter of this year. That’s a year-over-year gain of 45 markets. And – though the housing market’s recovery has been slow and gradual – according to the NAHB, it’s headed in the right direction and should continue at a steady pace throughout the remainder of this year. More here.

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