The U.S. housing market is just shy of what’s considered “normal” activity, according to a new report from the National Association of Home Builders and First American insurance.

The new NAHB-First American Leading Markets Index has reached 89 on a 100-point scale. It means that based on current data, the housing market is at 89 percent of its historical normal activity.

"The markets are recovering at a slow, gradual pace," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. "Continued job creation, economic growth and increasing consumer confidence should help spur pent-up demand for housing."

The index’s accompanying report say 66 percent of markets have shown improvement in the past year, and 59 additional markets surveyed have now returned to or exceeded pre-recession activity levels.

 "An uptick in the number of single-family permits, which is currently only 44 percent of normal activity, is the key to a full-fledged housing recovery," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "In the 17 metros where permits are at or above normal, the overall index shows that these markets have fully recovered."