As more markets across the country improved, all 50 statesâ€”plus the District of Columiaâ€”were able to receive representation in Februaryâ€™s Improving Markets Index (IMI) released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and First American.
Last year during this time, just 36 states were represented.
For this month, the IMI grew to include 259 markets, up from 242 in January.
â€œThe 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,â€ said 2013 NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, North Carolina.
In order to be recognized as â€œimproving,â€ 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 listâ€™s newcomers include Rome, Georgia; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Racine, Wisconsin.
David Crowe, NAHBâ€™s chief economist, noted over 70 percent of the 361 metros covered by the index are listed as improving this month.
â€œThatâ€™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 didnâ€™t fit the mold of the national headlines,â€ Crowe said.
Though, Judson warned, â€œthere is still much room for improvement in metros that have not yet been listed as well as those that have.â€
â€œ[W]e know that a key factor slowing this progress is todayâ€™s overly stringent mortgage standards that are keeping qualified buyers on the sidelines,â€ he added.
A complete list of all 259 metropolitan areas on the IMI can be found online.