The number of improving housing markets continued to expand for a sixth consecutive month to a total of 259 metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for February. This is up from 242 markets listed as improving in January and includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of the Columbia.
The IMI identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 20 new metros were added to the list and three were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Rome, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Racine, Wis.
‘The fact that all 50 states now have at least one metro on the improving list shows that the housing recovery has substantial momentum and continues to expand from one market to the next,’ says 2013 NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. ‘Of course, there is still much room for improvement in metros that have not yet been listed as well as those that have, and we know that a key factor slowing this progress is today's overly stringent mortgage standards that are keeping qualified buyers on the sidelines.’Â
A complete list of all 259 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in February, is available online.