Home Builders: 99 Markets Now Breaking Free of the Housing Bust

More housing markets across the country are improving, according to the NAHB.

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A top home builders group said nearly 100 housing markets across the nation qualified as "improving," further cementing the notion that the beat-up housing sector is finally throwing some punches of its own.

The 99 markets that made the cut in September—up almost 25 percent over August figures—include metro areas in 33 different states and the District of Columbia, including "geographically diverse locations" such as Tucson, Ariz., Jacksonville, Fla., Springfield, Ill., Greenville, N.C., and Bend, Ore.

According to the report released Monday from the National Association of Home Builders, the gains were broad based—31 new metros were added in September, an "encouraging sign that housing continues on a slow but steady recovery path that is gradually advancing from one local market to the next," according to NAHB chairman and Florida-based home builder Barry Rutenberg.

To qualify as an improving market, a metro area needs to show increases in housing permits, employment, and home prices for at least six consecutive months.

Although more markets are seeing improvement, many hurdles still exist, including the nagging issue with tight credit standards.

"More metros across the country are experiencing a sustained uptick in house prices, employment and new building activity as rising consumer confidence in local market conditions pushes more people to consider a new-home purchase," NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, said in a release. "That said, overly tight lending conditions for builders and buyers continue to slow this process considerably."

Meg Handley is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at mhandley@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter at @mmhandley.