Industry News

U.S. Economic and Housing Markets, A Slow But Steady Climb Back to Normal


January 23_Improving Economic and Housing Markets ImageFindings from the annual Leading Markets Index (LMI), released earlier this month by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), show that the economic and housing activity in markets across the U.S. are finally approaching, and in some cases, exceeding pre-recession levels.

The LMI scores are based on employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation data from Freddie Mac and the number of single-family housing permits issued from the U.S. Census Bureau over the past year for more than 350 metro areas in the U.S. The scores are then compared to those from the last period of normal growth, which is 2007 for employment and 2000-2003 for permits and pricing, showing where the U.S. economic and housing markets currently stand and where they are headed.

Below are some of the significant LMI scores, which paint a picture of the nation’s gradual return to more active and healthy economic and housing state:

  • Nationwide, 86 percent of economic and housing activity is running normally.
  • 56 out of the approximately 350 metro areas in the U.S. have returned to or exceeded their levels of pre-recession activity.
  • Topping the list of major metro areas on the LMI scale is Baton Rouge, La., with a 42 percent improvement in housing and economic activity over the last decade.
  • In both Odessa and Midland, Texas, the economic and housing activity has doubled since before the recession hit.

What’s most noteworthy about this year’s findings is the LMI’s shift in focus. Before, the index was used to identify markets that have begun to recover from the recession. Now, we’re hearing about the activity in markets that are back to or better than what they were during their peak nearly a decade ago.

To learn more about the improving housing market, read NAHB’s press release here.