In May, 100 U.S. housing markets showed sustained improvements in housing prices, employment, and permits to build new houses, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index.

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement in those three areas for at least six consecutive months.

Metros newly added to the list in May include such geographically diverse places as Phoenix, Ariz.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Bend, Ore.; and Lubbock, Texas.

“The fact that there are 100 markets in 34 states and the District of Columbia represented on the improving list illustrates that all housing markets are local, and that the national headlines often don’t apply to what’s happening in a specific metropolitan area,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg. “In places where employment is firming up along with demand for new homes, the main factors weighing down the housing market continue to be access to credit (for both builders and buyers) and the difficulty of obtaining accurate appraisals on new construction.”

A quarter a quarter of all U.S. metros are showing signs of improvement, said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

“Many of these are relatively small markets in terms of their population and building volume, which is why their improvement is barely registering on the national scale as of yet. Moreover, we are seeing some shifting of markets on and off the list primarily due to small seasonal house price changes in areas that have had flat, stable prices rather than a boom-and-bust cycle.”  

Source: NAHB