While the housing market's bust was a national event, housing’s recovery is emerging as decidedly local. Fortunately, the number and type of local markets that appear to be substantially improving is growing, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI).

The index nearly doubled its list of qualified markets in January, according to data released today, to a total of 76 improving markets, from 41 in December. The number of states represented by at least one area grew to 31 plus the District of Columbia, from 21 states and the District in December. According to the IMI, a market is considered to be improving once it has shown gains in home price appreciation, employment growth, and single-family permit growth for at least six consecutive months.

Also notable in January’s reading was the addition of several larger markets to the list, which has consistently been dominated by less-populated areas. Although the list is still primarily made up of smaller areas, metros such as Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Nashville, Tenn., and Philadelphia qualified for entry this month.

Other new entries to the IMI included Florence, Ala.; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Fayetteville, Ark.; Greeley, Colo.; Bridgeport, Conn.; New Haven, Conn.; Cape Coral, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Punta Gorda, Fla.; Ames, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Elkhart, Ind.; Lafayette, Ind.; Lake Charles, La.; Worcester, Mass.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Lansing, Mich.; Monroe, Mich.; Minneapolis; Columbia, Mo.; Joplin, Mo.; Fargo, N.D.; Manchester, N.H.; Cincinnati; Oklahoma City; Tulsa, Okla.; Corvallis, Ore.; Erie, Pa.; Philadelphia; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Clarksville, Tenn.; College Station, Texas; Victoria, Texas; and Madison, Wis.

Five areas were dropped from the list, including Anchorage, Ala.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Canton, Ohio; Scranton, Pa.; and Charleston, W.Va.

January marks the fourth consecutive month of growth for the IMI, which has gained in ranks every month since it was launched in September of last year.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Florence, AL, Tuscaloosa, AL, Fayetteville, AR, Greeley, CO, Bridgeport, CT, New Haven, CT, Cape Coral, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Punta Gorda, FL, Ames, IA, Des Moines, IA, Elkhart, IN, Lafayette, IN, Lake Charles, LA, Worcester, MA, Grand Rapids, MI, Lansing, MI, Monroe, MI, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, Columbia, MO, Joplin, MO, Fargo, ND, Manchester, NH, Cincinnati, OH, Oklahoma City, OK, Tulsa, OK, Corvallis, OR, Erie, PA, Chattanooga, TN, Clarksville, TN-KY, College Station, TX, Victoria, TX, Madison, WI, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Honolulu, HI, Indianapolis, IN, Philadelphia, PA, Anchorage, AK, Fort Wayne, IN, Canton, OH, Charleston, WV, Greenville, SC.