Housing market improvement holds steady

"We can expect to see more gradual gains going forward as challenges related to increased demand kick in, including everything from tightened supplies of developable lots and labor to the rising cost of building materials."

This total reflects a net reduction of one market since March and, again, includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"In some markets, the main thing that's holding back a recovery is a relatively thin inventory of homes for sale, which could be resolved if builders had easier access to credit for building homes and putting people back to work," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. 

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. 

Five new markets were added to the list and six markets were dropped from it this month — Macon, Ga.; Portland, Maine; Rocky Mount, N.C.; Eugene, Ore.; and Jackson, Tenn.