There are 291 metro areas that qualify for the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index, which is an increase of 44 housing markets from the August report.
The two-year-old index is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective low points in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
Augusta had 1.5 percent growth in home permits from the trough of December 2008, 6.9 percent growth in home prices from low point in February 2012 and 3.8 percent in employment growth since the trough in August 2009.
The organization’s chief economist David Crowe said the increase in markets qualifying for the index in September was partly due to a recent improvement in the way that Freddie Mac measures home prices, which resulted in stronger gains than previously reported.
“While there is still plenty of room for growth, this is an excellent indication of how the housing recovery has begun to take hold across more geographic areas,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.