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The number of listed as “” on the of Home Builders/First American Markets Index reached a record high this month of 291. The index, which started two years ago, gained 44 markets from August to September.

The measure of had been declining for several months, but a change in the method to compile the index’s data may partially explain this month’s rise.

“The dramatic increase in markets qualifying for the [improving index] in September was partly due to a recent improvement in the way that Mac measures , which resulted in stronger gains than previously reported,” says chief economist David Crowe. “Even so, the broadened list of metros on the [index] continues to demonstrate the slow but steady gains that individual housing markets are making to bolster the national outlook.”

NAHB Chairman says slightly more than 80 percent of the 361 metros tracked by the index have shown consistent growth in three key measures for at least six consecutive months: housing permits, employment, and home prices.

“While there is still plenty of room for growth, this is an excellent indication of how the housing recovery has begun to take hold across more geographic areas,” Judson says.

Among some of the metros added to the list in September were Macon, Ga.; St. Cloud, Minn.; Brownsville, Texas; Spokane, Wash.; and Milwaukee. All 50 states have at least one metro on the list.

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/-and-commentary/daily-

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