Wednesday, September 16, 2009

D-FW economic, housing markets among top in U.S., analysis finds

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has one of the strongest economic and housing markets in the country, according to a just-released analysis.

D-FW ranked fourth in a second-quarter economic comparison of 100 U.S. cities that was released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution. Austin was at the head of the list of cities with the strongest-performing economies.

And D-FW ranked third among markets with the best home price performance, the study found.

The quarterly report ranks the country's largest metropolitan areas based on employment, unemployment, economic output, home prices and home foreclosure rates.

"Several metro areas showed signs of beginning to recover from the recession, and the rate of economic decline slowed in many more," the study says.

"Twenty metro areas, including Albuquerque, Baltimore, Bridgeport, Conn., Charlotte, Dallas and Seattle, posted at least small increases in economic output in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter."

The D-FW area ranked 11th nationally in the comparison of gross economic production – up 0.1 percent from the first quarter.

And the area has had a 1.9 percent drop in total employment since the peak of the economy in mid-2008. That compares with a 4.1 percent nationwide decline, the Brookings study said.

The best news in the local report card was in the housing sector.

Local home prices, when adjusted for inflation, have increased in the D-FW area 3.8 percent during the last year, Brookings researchers estimate. That's the third-best performance in the country, behind Houston and Wichita, Kan.

The Brookings Institution report is the latest in a series of recent economic report cards that suggest that the recession is waning in North Texas.

Other data also suggest that the housing market decline here is bottoming.

1. Austin
2. Baton Rouge, La.
3. Columbia, S.C.
4. Dallas-Fort Worth
5. Des Moines, Iowa
6. El Paso
7. Harrisburg, Pa.
8. Honolulu
9. Houston
10. Jackson, Miss.
SOURCE: Brookings Institution

Based on one-year change adjusted for inflation:
Houston 4.9%
Wichita, Kan. 4.2%
Dallas-Ft. W. 3.8%
Buffalo, N.Y. 3.7%
Pittsburgh 3.7%
Columbia, S.C. 3.5%
Syracuse, N.Y. 3.4%
Baton Rouge, La 3.3%
Rochester, N.Y. 3.1%
San Antonio 3.1%