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US housing market recovery on the horizon

Fresh evidence has supported talk of a recovery in the long-suffering US built environment market

The country’s National Association of Home Builders reported an increase in the number of cities in the country undergoing house market recoveries.

This follows positive surveys last week on employment and spending in the US construction sector, which has had a torrid four years.

NAHB figures showed a hike in the number of metropolitan areas with six consecutive months of increases in housing approvals, jobs and house prices.

In February, 98 cities had shown this improvement, up by 29 from January.

New entrants included Miami, Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, Portland, Memphis and Salt Lake City.

NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen said: ‘The number of improving housing markets has risen for six consecutive months, and 36 states now have at least one metropolitan area on the list.

‘This indicates that despite the many challenges that continue to drag on a housing recovery – including the tight lending environment for builders and buyers – improving conditions are slowly but surely spreading from one housing market to the next.’

NAHB chief economist David Crowe added: ‘A large cross section of the country is starting to turn the corner as local economic conditions stabilize.’  

The Associated General Contractors of America last week reported that construction employment rose at its quickest for four years in December 2011.

The AGC analysis of government data showed that 28 states saw construction employment rise in the year to December 2011.

There was further good news from the American Institute of Architects, which projected an increase in spending on non-residential construction in 2012.

The institute’s semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast predicted a 6.4 per cent increase in spending in 2013.

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