In the Upstate, Greenville ranks 150 among the nation's housing markets, down from 145 in December. It's overall score is .87, or 87 percent of normal and equal to the national average. Holding our market back is permits, which are 55 percent recovered, down slightly from January. However, prices are 115 percent of normal, an indication that demand is now exceeding supply. Employment remains at 92 percent of normal.
Spartanburg is ranked 191 with a score of .84. Permits are 54 percent recovered, and housing prices are at 104 percent of normal and rising quickly. Employment is at 93 percent of normal.
Anderson is not ranked because housing price data is not currently available. However, permits in Anderson are at 42 percent of normal and employment is at 91 percent of normal.
Click here to view data on all 350 housing markets.
“Housing markets across the nation are continuing their slow and steady climb back to normal levels,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “As employment and consumer confidence slowly improves, this is spurring pent-up demand among potential buyers.”
“Firming home prices are hastening the return of normal economic and housing activity in an increasing number of markets,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The healthiest markets continue to be centered in smaller metros that boast strong local economies, particularly in the oil and gas producing states of Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana and Wyoming.”
“We are pleased about the continued market trends, highlighted by the fact that eighty-five percent of all metropolitan areas have shown signs of improvement over the past year,” said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Co., which co-sponsors the LMI report.
Baton Rouge, La., tops the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.41 – or 41 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros at the top of the list include Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin and Houston, Texas, as well as Harrisburg, Pa. and Pittsburgh – all of whose LMI scores indicate that their market activity now exceeds previous norms.
Looking at smaller metros, both Odessa and Midland, Texas, boast LMI scores of 2.0 or better, meaning that their markets are now at double their strength prior to the recession. Also at the top of the list of smaller metros are Bismarck, N.D.; Casper, Wyo.; and Grand Forks, N.D., respectively.
The LMI shifts the focus from identifying markets that have recently begun to recover, which was the aim of a previous gauge known as the Improving Markets Index, to identifying those areas that are now approaching and exceeding their previous normal levels of economic and housing activity. More than 350 metro areas are scored by taking their average permit, price and employment levels for the past 12 months and dividing each by their annual average over the last period of normal growth. For single-family permits and home prices, 2000-2003 is used as the last normal period, and for employment, 2007 is the base comparison. The three components are then averaged to provide an overall score for each market; a national score is calculated based on national measures of the three metrics. An index value above one indicates that a market has advanced beyond its previous normal level of economic activity.
Editor’s Note: In calculating the LMI, NAHB utilizes employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation data from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permits from the U.S. Census Bureau. The LMI is published on the fourth working day of each month, unless that day falls on a Friday -- in which case, it is released on the following Monday.