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Number of ‘Improving’ Housing Markets Nearly Doubles

The number of housing markets showing measurable improvement nearly doubled in January, with the addition of 40 new metros to the Improving Markets Index put out by ""First American"":http://www.firstam.com and the ""National Association of Home Builders"":http://www.nahb.org (NAHB).

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The index tracks housing markets that are showing signs of improving economic health based on three independent datasets â€" employment growth from the Labor Department, home price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and single-family housing permits from the Census Bureau.

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in employment, home prices, and housing permits for at least six consecutive months.

The following 40 metros were added to the Improving Markets Index this month:

* Florence, Alabama
* Tuscaloosa, Alabama
* Fayetteville, Arkansas
* Denver, Colorado
* Greeley, Colorado
* Bridgeport, Connecticut
* New Haven, Connecticut
* Cape Coral, Florida
* Jacksonville, Florida
* Punta Gorda, Florida
* Honolulu, Hawaii
* Ames, Iowa
* Des Moines, Iowa

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* Dubuque, Iowa
* Elkhart, Indiana
* Indianapolis, Indiana
* Lafayette, Indiana
* Lake Charles, Louisiana
* Worcester, Massachusetts
* Grand Rapids, Michigan
* Lansing, Michigan
* Monroe, Michigan
* Minneapolis, Minnesota
* Columbia, Missouri
* Joplin, Missouri
* Fargo, North Dakota
* Manchester, New Hampshire
* Cincinnati, Ohio
* Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
* Tulsa, Oklahoma
* Corvallis, Oregon
* Erie, Pennsylvania
* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
* Chattanooga, Tennessee
* Clarksville, Tennessee
* Nashville, Tennessee
* College Station, Texas
* Dallas, Texas
* Victoria, Texas
* Madison, Wisconsin

While relatively small metropolitan areas continue to dominate the list, several major metros in diverse parts of the country were added this month, including Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Nashville, and Philadelphia.

The full list now stands at 76, with 31 states and the District of Columbia all represented by at least one entry. The current tally is up from 41 in December. Five metros on the list in December were dropped from the index in January. These included Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Canton, Ohio; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Charleston, West Virginia.

According to Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman, the list would be much stronger, were it not for restrictive lending and growing inventories of distressed properties in certain markets.

A complete list of all 76 metropolitan areas currently on the Improving Markets Index is available at: ""nahb.org/imi"":http://www.nahb.org/imi.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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