WASHINGTON, D.C. (NAHB) – Housing markets in 52 out of the roughly 350 metros nationwide have returned to or exceeded their pre-recessionary levels of activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), which was released yesterday. And some of the top-performing markets are in Texas.

At 1.07, Austin had the highest overall score of any major Texas metro. This means the city’s housing market was doing 7 percent better than its last normal market level. It ranked fourth nationally behind Baton Rouge, Honolulu and Oklahoma City.

Houston, with a score of 1.03, ranked fifth and was the only other major Texas metro whose LMI score indicated that its housing market now exceeded previous norms.

El Paso ranked seventh with an overall score of 1.00, indicating that the market there had returned to previous norms.

West Texas metros had an especially strong showing, with Odessa ranking first (2.41 LMI) and Midland second (2.00) among small metros. Abilene landed at seventh with a 1.31 score.

“Smaller metros are leading the way to a housing recovery, accounting for 43 of the top 50 markets on the current LMI,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

The nationwide score was .85, indicating that, based on current permits, prices and employment data, the nationwide housing market is running at 85 percent of normal activity.