Using employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home-price appreciation info from Freddie Mac, and Census Bureau estimates on single-family permit growth, the National Association of Home Builders’ Improving Markets Index generates a list of housing markets across the country that are showing signs of economic improvement. In December, the list of improving markets expanded for the fourth consecutive month. The list rose from 30 to 41 and included 20 new additions. Bob Nielsen, NAHB’s chairman, said the increasing number of improving markets, and their geographic diversity, is quite encouraging and evidence that all housing markets are dependent on local factors. In order to be included on the list, a metro area must see improvement in each of the three measures for at least six months. More here.