In the latest sign of a burgeoning recovery in U.S. housing markets, the number of metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) rose for a fifth consecutive month to 242 in January. This is up from 201 markets listed as improving in December, and includes entrants from 48 states and the District of Columbia.
The IMI identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 47 new metros were added to the list and six were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Los Angeles, Calif.; Auburn, Ala.; Des Moines, Iowa; Nashville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; and Cleveland, Ohio. Details