The number of housing markets that are considered "improving" improved by 76, to a total of 201 metros in December, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The list now includes more than half of all United States metro areas.
The Improving Markets Index (IMI), from the NAHB/First American, also showed that the number of states on the list (with at least one improving metro) was up from 38 in November to 44 (plus Washington, D.C.) in December.
The index lists metros areas that have improved from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six months in a row.
A total of 84 new metros were added to the list and eight were dropped from it in December.
Newly added metros include: Atlanta, GA; Bloomington, IL; Ann Arbor, MI; Seattle, WA; and Green Bay, WI.
"This fourth consecutive month of expansion in the IMI, coupled with the fact that well over half of all metro areas are now represented on the list, is in keeping with the upward trends that we've been seeing all year in terms of housing starts and sales, builder confidence and other measures," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "In general, we expect the overall housing recovery to continue expanding in 2013."
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