The number of U.S. housing markets considered “improving” is holding steady at 273, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The NAHB’s latest Improving Markets Index, compiled with help from First American Title Insurance Co., saw Macon, Ga.; Portland, Maine; Rocky Mount, N.C.; Eugene, Ore.; and Jackson, Tenn., added to the list.

"The stability in the improving markets list this month is encouraging, with three quarters of all metros tracked by our index considered on the upswing as the housing recovery spreads to parts of every state," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "In some markets, the main thing that's holding back a recovery is a relatively thin inventory of homes for sale, which could be resolved if builders had easier access to credit for building homes and putting people back to work."  

Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman at First American, said the data should be good news for many communities.

"With 75 percent of the country seeing measurable improvement in housing market conditions, the outlook is definitely brightening for local economies this spring," he said.

Experts are tempering their enthusiasm going forward, however. NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said the real estate market may have some headwinds this summer.

"We can expect to see more gradual gains going forward as challenges related to increased demand kick in — including everything from tightened supplies of developable lots and labor to the rising cost of building materials,” he said.

The full list is at this website.