The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Improving Markets Index (IMI) for December reported 41 improving markets, compared to 30 the previous month.
To be counted as improving, a market must display strong employment growth, home price appreciation and single-family housing permit growth for six or more consecutive months.
The most recent IMI dropped 9 cities that were improving in November but added 20 new ones. Of those dropped, one each was removed for declining single-family housing permits and employment, while the rest had softening housing prices.
New cities that appear on the IMI include Washington, D.C.; Lincoln, Nebraska; San Jose and Boulder, Colorado. In total, 20 new markets were added to December's index.
NAHB chief economist David Crowe noted that larger metros and diverse economies have been making their way onto the list recently. Previously, it was dominated by smaller metros which focused on the energy industry.
"The increases we continue to see in the number and geographic diversity of improving metros are quite encouraging, and evidence of the fact that all housing markets are dependent on uniquely local factors," said NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen. Nielsen also noted the list now features markets from 21 states and the District of Columbia, compared to 14 states the month before, a sign of broader improvement.