WASHINGTON - Signs of a recovering economy continue to surface. An example of this can be found in the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). This list of U.S. housing markets that show measurable and sustained improvement now includes 80 metropolitan areas.

While the list shows a decline in the number of improving markets from May, it still shows signs of geographic diversity as roughly a quarter of all U.S. metropolitan areas are now included.

"The shifting of some markets off the IMI in June underscores the fragile nature of the housing recovery as well as the fact that many locations that previously made the list had recorded only marginal house price gains, which were easily wiped out by small downward changes," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, the fact that multiple new areas are showing up on the list each month is encouraging, and highlights the degree to which local economic and job market conditions are what drive individual housing markets."

The IMI tracks housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three areas for at least six months before being included on the improving markets list.

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