Mar 15, 2014 19:49 BR housing activity performing above historic levels BR housing activity performing above historic levels Strong performance of energy sector has helped markets in Louisiana Timothy Boone| email@example.com March 15, 2014 Comments Baton Rouge again topped a monthly index that measures how housing and economic activity in a city compares to normal historical levels. Baton Rouge ranked at 1.41 in the latest National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index, meaning that the local market is 41 percent better than normal levels. That’s based on single-family home permits, house price appreciation information and employment data over the past 12 months. The NAHB said the national average is 0.87, meaning that economic activity is just 87 percent of historic levels. The NAHB started measuring the Leading Markets Index in October; Baton Rouge has topped the index of major metros every month. Lafayette had the second-best performance of any Louisiana city in the March report, coming in at 1.26, or 26 percent above historic levels. Shreveport was third at 1.09, followed by Monroe with 1.08, Houma-Thibodaux at 1.06, Alexandria at 1.05, Lake Charles at 1.04 and New Orleans at 0.99, the only market to be below traditional levels. The report looks at activity in 350 metro areas and compares them against single-family permits and home prices from where they stood in 2000 to 2003 and employment from 2007. The NAHB said the strong performance of the energy sector has helped markets in Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota and Wyoming. Other markets performing above historic levels are Odessa, Texas; Midland, Texas; Casper, Wyo., and Bismarck, N.D.