The list of housing markets demonstrating improvement on a trio of housing-related measures took a big jump in January, rising to 76 cities from 41 in December.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) highlights metropolitan areas that have shown a consistent improvement in housing permits, employment, and house prices.

A metropolitan area must see improvement on each of three data sets used by IMI; the Bureau of Labor Statistics (employment), Freddie Mac (home prices), and the U.S. Census Bureau (permits) for a minimum of six months following its respective trough to be included on the list.  

The new cities were geographically dispersed; cities in 22 states made their initial appearance in January.  Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia are now represented by at least one metro area.  Five cities in five states fell off the list in the last month.

"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," added 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."

New entrants to the list in January include the following (listed alphabetically by state):

Florence, AL
Tuscaloosa, AL
Fayetteville, AR
Denver, CO
Greeley, CO
Bridgeport, CT
New Haven, CT
Cape Coral, FL
Jacksonville, FL
Punta Gorda, FL
Honolulu, HI
Ames, IA
Des Moines, IA
Dubuque, IA
Elkhart, IN
Indianapolis, IN
Lafayette, IN
Lake Charles, LA
Worcester, MA
Grand Rapids, MI
Lansing, MI
Monroe, MI
Minneapolis, MN
Columbia, MO
Joplin, MO
Fargo, ND
Manchester, NH
Cincinnati, OH
Oklahoma City, OK
Tulsa, OK
Corvallis, OR
Erie, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Chattanooga, TN
Clarksville, TN
Nashville, TN
College Station, TX
Dallas, TX
Victoria, TX
Madison, WI