Seventy-five percent of the metropolitan areas tracked by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) are now listed as improving.  A net gain of 15 markets joined the list in February with 34 markets added and 19 dropping from the list.

Improving markets are those that have shown improvement from their respective troughs on each of three measures, housing permits, employment, and house prices, for six consecutive months.  Improvement is determined by data from the U.S. Census Bureau (permits) Freddie Mac (home prices) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (employment.)

"This is the second consecutive month in which every state is represented by at least one metro on the improving list," observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.  "The expanding housing recovery is energizing communities nationwide by generating jobs and local tax revenues -- and it could be an even more potent force for economic growth if credit for building and buying homes was more readily available."

"With just over 75 percent of the 361 metros covered by the IMI now seen as improving, the housing market is on considerably more solid footing than it was at this time last year," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "While we expect this positive momentum to continue, it's important to understand that many markets are just beginning the recovery process, and that numerous issues - from credit availability to the rising cost of building materials and emerging lot shortages - are slowing the pace of that advancement."
"With the understanding that there are still a lot of uncertainties in the regulatory arena, it looks like we are finally seeing the beginning of what could be a broad and deep recovery of the nation's housing market," added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.