The list of improving U.S. housing markets, which had been growing for seven months in row, remained essentially flat in April. April showed 273 metros on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI)--down one from March's list.
The list again includes metros in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The IMI lists metropolitan areas showing at least six months of improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices. Five markets were added and six markets dropped from the list in April.
"The stability in the improving markets list this month is encouraging, with three quarters of all metros tracked by our index considered on the upswing as the housing recovery spreads to parts of every state," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, NC. "In some markets, the main thing that's holding back a recovery is a relatively thin inventory of homes for sale, which could be resolved if builders had easier access to credit for building homes and putting people back to work."
"After a strong run-up through late 2012 and early 2013, the number of improving markets is holding steady at a high level," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "We can expect to see more gradual gains going forward as challenges related to increased demand kick in - including everything from tightened supplies of developable lots and labor to the rising cost of building materials."
"With 75% of the country seeing measurable improvement in housing market conditions, the outlook is definitely brightening for local economies this spring," noted Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.
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