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Dec 7, 2012 10:06 AM by Jay Kohn - Q2 News

Billings housing market listed among most improved in nation

BILLINGS - For the first time, Billings is included among the nation's top performing housing markets.

The Improving Housing Market Index, or IMI, looks at current trends in housing permits, employment and housing prices.

To make the list, a specific market needs to show improvement in all three of those areas for six consecutive months.

Billings is among 84 new metro areas added to this year's list , and is the only Montana city to make it.

Sam Nelson, President of the Home Builders Association of Billings, says being included in the IMI index, indicates that the key measures of housing and economic strength have been holding steady for six months or more.

Still, he points to a tough credit market as one of the biggest obstacles facing the industry.

"The main thing that's limiting the progress we're seeing right now is the difficulty that potential buyers continue to experience with regard to overly tight mortgage qualifying standards,". said Nelson

The Home Builders Association points to its impact on the local job scene as proof of its importance to the local economy.

Every 100 new homes built equals an estimated 300 full time jobs.

With more than 300 new housing permits issued in Billings in 2012, that translates into more than 900 jobs across Yellowstone County.

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