After dipping slightly in May, the number of U.S. housing markets on the mend increased by five, bringing the total to 263 in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index.
The IMI, which includes entrants from all 49 states and the District of Columbia, reveals metropolitan areas that have shown improvement in housing permits, employment and home prices for at least six consecutive months.
This month, 29 new markets were added, while 24 were dropped from the list. New entrants included Salinas, Calif.; Sioux City, Iowa; Chicago; Topeka, Kan.; Baton Rouge, La.; Laredo, Texas; and Philadelphia, Pa.
"This is the fifth consecutive month in which the IMI has designated more than 70% of U.S. metros as improving," observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
He added, "While that's a good sign that the housing recovery is on solid footing, we know that various challenges are slowing its progress — including continuing issues with credit availability for builders and buyers, as well as appraisals that aren't keeping up with the rising cost of construction."
According to NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, it is normal to see some seasonal fluctuations regarding the IMI list. "Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the number of improving markets is now more than three times what it was in June 2012," he noted.
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