WASHINGTON, DC - The housing recovery continues at a modest pace with 91% of markets showing an improvement year over year, according to the NAHB.

“Ongoing job growth, low mortgage rates and rising incomes are contributing to a firming housing market and economy,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “Though some areas are recovering faster than others, the overall trend is positive.”

Markets in 162 of the approximately 340 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the third quarter of 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI). This represents a year-over-year net gain of 73 markets.

The index’s nationwide score ticked up to 0.98, meaning that based on current permit, price and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 98 percent of normal economic and housing activity. Meanwhile, 91% of markets have shown an improvement year over year.

“House prices continue to show the strongest recovery among the LMI components, with 327 markets, or 97 percent, returning to or exceeding their last normal levels. Meanwhile, 92 metros have reached or exceeded normal employment activity,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Single-family permits have edged up to 51% of normal activity, but still lag far behind the other gauges of the index.”

“Nearly 80 percent of metro areas posted an increase in their LMI score over the past quarter, while more than nine out of 10 recorded an annual increase,” said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company, which co-sponsors the LMI report. “These are strong indicators that the housing recovery remains steadily on an upward trajectory.”

Baton Rouge, La., continues to top the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.68—or 68 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros leading the list include Austin, Texas; Honolulu; San Jose, Calif.; and Provo, Utah. Rounding out the top 10 are Spokane, Wash.; Nashville, Tenn.; Houston; Charleston, S.C.; and Los Angeles.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org.

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