The number of metropolitan areas on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index rose for a fifth consecutive month in January - yet another sign of the housing market's growing strength.
The number of cities on the list rose to 242, up from 201 markets listed as improving in December.
The index identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months.
A total of 47 new metro areas were added to the list and six were dropped from it this month.
Eight N.C. cities are on the list: Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh and Rocky Mount. Asheville and Rocky Mount are new to the list as of this month.
Six S.C. cities made the list, including Charleston, Greenville and Columbia.
The trade group created the list in September 2011 to highlight metropolitan areas that were showing signs of improvement, bucking the then-national trend.
"The story is no longer about exceptions to the rule, but about the growing breadth of the housing recovery even as overly strict mortgage requirements hold back the pace of improvement," the association's chairman Barry Rutenberg said.
A complete list of all 242 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in January, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.
The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in remodeling, home building, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction.