The national housing recovery seems as if it will continue this year, as many local real estate markets were shown to be improving at the start of 2013. The total number of housing markets that saw improvements in the month of January climbed to 242, including metro areas in 48 states, as well as the District of Columbia, according to the Improving Markets Index issued monthly by the National Association of Homebuilders and First American. The current number makes up slightly more than two-thirds of the metro areas the index monitors nationwide, and is up from the 201 improving markets observed in December.
"We created the improving markets list in September of 2011 to spotlight individual metros where -- contrary to the national headlines -- housing markets were on the mend," said NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg. "Today, 242 out of 361 metros nationwide appear on that list, including representatives from almost every state in the country. The story is no longer about exceptions to the rule, but about the growing breadth of the housing recovery even as overly strict mortgage requirements hold back the pace of improvement."
In all, 47 new areas were added to the list of improving cities, while six others dropped off, the report said. Those added include major metro areas from across the country, including Los Angeles, Des Moines, Iowa, Nashville, Tenn., Richmond, Va., and Cleveland. NAHB chief economist David Crowe also said that the national number of improving markets has nearly doubled in the past two months alone driven by more consumer demand pushing home prices higher. However, he also cautioned that in the future, these changes may not continue for much longer due to seasonal shifts in the home market in general.
Housing affordability remains rather high even as prices continue to rise across the country thanks in large part to mortgage rates being artificially depressed by the Federal Reserve Board's latest round of bond-buying, known as QE3. However, some experts note that it's unlikely that the Fed will continue to snatch up bonds at the rate seen in the past several months, which in turn could lead interest rates to rise in the latter half of the year, and as such, those who are interested in buying a home may want to capitalize on the combined deals on rates and prices as soon as possible.
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