Greater Des Moines was designated as an improving housing market according to an index released this week by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The Des Moines and Sioux City housing markets both were added to the national list of improving housing markets, based on at least six months of improvements in three measures: employment; the number of new housing permits and home sale prices, according to an NAHB press release.
The Iowa City housing market was already on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index. The national list is compiled monthly. There were 80 markets on the list in August and 99 this month.
"The number of improving housing markets grew by 19 in September as 68 metros retained their spots, 31 new metros were added and just 12 dropped off the list," noted Barry Rutenberg, NAHB chairman and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "This solid growth is an encouraging sign that housing continues on a slow but steady recovery path that is gradually advancing from one local market to the next."
"I was very pleased to see that we were back on that list," said Creighton Cox, executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines. He said Greater Des Moines made the list in January of this year, but dropped off in June because one of the three indicators dipped.
"The [index] shows confidence in both the builder and the consumer to produce and buy homes in those markets," Cox said. He noted that national ratings such as this index help attract both residential and commercial projects to the Des Moines area.
"What we're seeing is we're getting some commercial development and I think that's why," he said. "They understand that our housing is stable. It not only supports the confidence locally, but it encourages business to relocate."
The index is based on progress from each metro area's trough, or low point, in building permits, home prices and employment. According to the national index, Greater Des Moines' nadir in building permits was in February 2009. Building permits are up 3.7 percent from that point.
Employment is up 2.2 percent from a low in August 2010; and home sale prices are up 1.1 percent from a low point in December 2010.
Cox said he tracks permits for new residential construction in a four-county area in Central Iowa, including the Ames area. He said those permits were up 40 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, and increased month-over-month consistently. He said there were 1,535 new residential permits in 2011 as of July and 2,074 permits by July of 2012.