The National Association of Home Builders Improving Markets Index lists metropolitan areas that have shown six consecutive months of improvement in housing permits, employment, and home prices. In September, the index reached a total of 99, up 19 over August’s total of 80. Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB, said the growth is an encouraging sign that housing continues on a slow but steady recovery path that is advancing from one local market to the next. The list now includes metros in 33 states and the District of Columbia. New markets added to the index include Tucson, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Springfield, Ill.; Greenville, N.C.; and Bend, Ore. Only 12 cities fell off the list from the previous month, while 68 retained their spots and 31 new metros were added. More here and here.