For the seventh month in row, the list for improving U.S. housing markets grew. According to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) 274 metropolitan areas improved in the month of March. Metros included as improving are those with increased issuance of housing permits, employment growth, and increasing house prices for at least six months in a row.
Residential real estate prices made substantial gains in January, the most since June 2006, indicating the U.S. housing market strengthened at the start of the year. There was an 8.1% increase in January from the year before for the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities. All 20 cities included in the index had an increase in home price from the year before. Median value for homes rose to $173,600 for February, which is an 11.6% jump from the year before and the highest year-to-year jump since November of 2005. This index covers a three month average and covered November through January.
Three NPI inspectors are celebrating their 15th year as franchise owners. Randy Creamer of Chicago, Vic Carlile of Bonfield, IL and Mike Oberacker of Clearwater, FL have been with us for 15 years. Congratulations Randy, Vic and Mike!
3M and The CPSC have issued a recall for Filtrete room air purifiers. Several models are included in the recall. A part of the air purifiers may overheat and become a fire hazard. The recall is in effect for approximately 10,000 units sold.
The 4th quarter of 2012 saw gains for the Multifamily Production Index, or (MPI). The index takes into account builder and developer sentiment of low rent units, market rate rental units and condominiums.
Seven NPI business owners are celebrating their 10th year anniversaries with us. Scott Cowan of Salt Lake City, UT, Jim Ahring of Stauton, IL, Bill and Brooke Cushing of Cheyenne, WY, Danny Thurman of Crossville, TN, Brent Sostrom of Sacremento, CA, and Mark Crowley of Bettendorf, IA are all celebrating their 10th year anniversaries as National Property Inspection franchise owners. Congratulations everybody.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there have been gains in existing-home sales for year-over-year growth for 20 consecutive months. Home prices have had 12 consecutive months of year-over-year gains.
Congratulations to Brian Nygaard of St. Cloud, MN on his new license and accreditation. Brian posted the highest score in NPI history for the Home Inspection Exam given at the end of his NPI training.
Several models of Science Group LED Light Bulbs have been recalled by the CPSC and Lighting Science Group. The recall includes 6, 8 and 9-watt bulbs distributed under the brand names Definity, EcoSmart, Sylvania and Westinghouse (see link below for further details). The light bulbs can overheat and become a smoke or fire hazard. The recall is in effect for approximately 554,000 light bulbs sold.
Information released by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau shows housing production in the U.S. increased by 0.8% in February. This would bring housing production to a seasonally adjusted rate of 917,000 units. These numbers include both single-family and multifamily units. This was the fastest pace for single-family starts since June 2008.