The number of housing markets around the country reporting consistent improvement continued to grow in February, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). According to numbers released today, the index grew by 29 metro areas, including several larger markets and many that have been particularly hard hit. With this month's additions, the index now stands at a total of 98 markets.

Among the most notable markets to be admitted in February were Boston; Miami; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Salt Lake City.

For the IMI’s purposes, an area is considered officially improving once it has registered six consecutive months of improvements in single-family housing permit numbers, employment numbers, and house prices. Should one of these metrics decline after an area has reached the six-month mark, that metro is dropped from the list.

"While many of the markets on the February IMI are far from fully recovered, the index points out where employment, home prices, and housing production are no longer retreating and have held above their lowest recession troughs for six months or more," said David Crowe, chief economist at the NAHB, in a statement today. "This is a sign that a large cross section of the country is starting to turn the corner as local economic conditions stabilize."

Previously dominated by regions that held strong economic ties to oil, its reach has broadened. Thirty-six states are now represented by at least one metro area, although Texas still shows up on the index more often than any other state.

Declining home prices took a toll in several markets, however, causing seven metro areas to be dropped from the list, including San Jose, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Kankakee, Ill.; New Orleans; Worcester, Mass.; Jackson, Miss.; and Sherman, Texas.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Boston, MA, Miami, FL, Detroit, MI, Kansas City, MO, Portland, OR, Memphis, TN, Salt Lake City, UT, San Jose, CA, Washington, DC, Kankakee, IL, New Orleans, LA, Worcester, MA, Jackson, MI, Sherman, TX, Greenville, SC.