The Salt Lake and Provo metropolitan areas have been added to a national list that tracks housing markets that have shown “measurable improvement.” The National Association of Home Builders has included Salt Lake and Provo on its Improving Markets Index, which tracks metropolitan areas that have had increases from their troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. 

Since the trough in March 2009, the index says Salt Lake home-building permits have grown 2.3 percent. The index also says home prices have increased 0.4 percent since their trough in March 2011. Finally, the index says Salt Lake employment has grown 3.6 percent from its trough in February 2010.

The Provo statistics were even better. From their trough, building permits have grown 2.7 percent, prices have increased 1.1 percent and employment has risen 4.6 percent.

The Home Builders Association uses three sets of independent monthly data to track housing markets that are showing improvements in economic health. These include employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation information from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three areas for at least six months following their respective troughs before they can be included on the list.

Nearly 100 metropolitan areas are on the list, which NAHB initially created in September 2011. Twenty-nine areas joined the list in February.

“The number of improving markets has risen for six consecutive months, and 36 states now have at least one metropolitan area on the list,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen in a press release about the February index. “This indicates that despite the many challenges that continue to drag on a housing recovery — including a tight lending environment for builders and buyers — improving conditions are slowly but surely spreading from one housing market to the next.” 

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