Only about 17% of the 350 metro markets in America have seen a return to or growth beyond their last normal levels of housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index.
Exactly 59 metros can be said to have fully recovered. This represents a net gain of 11 metros year over year.
Notably, a large number of the most recovered metros are in and around renewed petroleum activity – places in West Texas and North Dakota.
The index’s nationwide score ticked up to .88 from a March reading of .87. This means that based on current permit, price and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 88% of normal economic and housing activity.
For single-family permits and home prices, 2000-2003 is used as the last normal period, and for employment, 2007 is the base comparison.
A little more than a quarter of metros saw their score rise this month and 83% have shown an improvement over the past year, the report says.
“I think the big news here is that regions outside of the energy states continue to gain ground,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “It’s a promising sign to see areas like Los Angeles and San Jose joining the top ten largest MSAs showing a recovery. We still expect 2014 to be a strong year for housing and to aid in the overall economic recovery. The job market continues to mend and with that we will see a steady release of pent up demand of buyers.”
Baton Rouge, La., continues to top the list of major metros with an index score of 1.42—or 42% better than its last normal market level.
“Things are getting slowly better overall,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “And with the housing market now entering the spring buying season, the fact that the nation’s economy is headed in the right direction is a very promising sign.”
For a look at the top 10 large and the top 10 small markets in terms of housing activity recovery, click below.