Even though the official start of winter is more than a week away — tell that to those who live in the Upper Midwest! — housing continues to heat up in dozens of new markets according to the latest Improving Markets Index (IMI) from the National Association of Home Builders and First American.
The IMI added a total of 76 to 201 metros in December. Forty-four states are now represented by the index.
According to the NAHB, “The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.”
“The big gain in improving markets this December indicates that key measures of housing and economic strength have now been holding steady or improving in metros across the country for six months or more, which is an important signal of stability amidst the slowly emerging recovery,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.
Rutenberg and NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe both believe housing growth will continue to improve in 2013, but each warns stringent loaning standards and a major policy change to the mortgage interest deduction could go a long way to harm momentum in the marketplace.
If you would like to see if you’re market made the IMI, here’s the full list.