As more markets across the country improved, all 50 states--plus the District of Columbia--were able to receive representation in February's Improving Markets Index (IMI) released by the ""National Association of Home Builders"":http://www.nahb.org/ (NAHB) and ""First American"":http://www.firstam.com/.[IMAGE]
Last year during this time, just ""36 states"":https://themreport.com/articles/ninety-eight-housing-markets-improve-in-february-nahb-2012-02-06 were represented.
For this month, the IMI grew to include 259 markets, up from 242 in January.
""The fact that all 50 states now have at least one metro on the improving list shows that the housing recovery has substantial momentum and continues to expand from one market to the next,"" said 2013 NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, North Carolina.[COLUMN_BREAK]
In order to be recognized as ""improving,"" metro areas need to show improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least 6 consecutive months.
In February, 20 metros were added to the list, while three dropped out. The list's newcomers include Rome, Georgia; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Racine, Wisconsin.
David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist, noted over 70 percent of the 361 metros covered by the index are listed as improving this month.
""That's a far cry from when we initiated this index with just 12 improving metros in September of 2011 for the purpose of highlighting places that didn't fit the mold of the national headlines,"" Crowe said.
Though, Judson warned, ""there is still much room for improvement in metros that have not yet been listed as well as those that have.""
""[W]e know that a key factor slowing this progress is today's overly stringent mortgage standards that are keeping qualified buyers on the sidelines,"" he added.
A complete list of all 259 metropolitan areas on the IMI can be found ""online."":http://www.nahb.org/reference_list.aspx?sectionID=2223