The National Association of Home Builders’ Improving Markets Index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown six consecutive months of improvement in housing permits, employment, and home prices. In July, the index rose by four to include 84 metropolitan areas. The list now includes markets in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Barry Rutenberg, NAHB’s chairman, said the geographic diversity and growing number of cities on the list highlight the recent improvements in home prices and job market conditions across certain parts of the country. July’s index includes 73 metros that retained their spot from the month before and 11 new entries, including Prescott, Ariz.; Springfield, Mass.; St. Cloud, Minn.; and Houston, Texas. More here.