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The list of housing markets continued to show improvement, according to a measurement by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which expanded its “Improving Markets Index” to nearly 100 metro regions in February 2012. A total of 29 markets were added, bringing the total to 98 entries on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). Thirty-six states are now represented by at least one market on the list.
The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. The February index adds some metropolitan areas that have been particularly weak; this is due to the fact that the IMI measures improvement from a bottom, and some of the hardest hit markets are showing signs of coming off of extreme lows. Keeping this in mind, notable new entrants to list in February include Miami; Boston; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Salt Lake City.
"While relatively small metropolitan areas continue to dominate the list of improving housing markets, it's important to note that several major metros in diverse parts of the country have now joined the field as well, including such metros as Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Nashville and Philadelphia," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "This is an encouraging sign that gradually strengthening economic conditions are starting to take hold across a broader swath of America."