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Improving housing markets nearly double, new data says
Brief:The real estate maket has improved nearly doubled in January,showing that more consumers are looking favorably at a home purchase.
Data released today indicates that the number of improving housing markets nearly doubled in January, providing the latest evidence of a real estate turnaround.

Seventy-six markets are now on the upswing, according to the Improving Markets Index, a monthly release prepared by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the First American Financial Corporation. That represents an increase of 35 markets from the December release, which listed 41 markets as improving. The index classifies a market as improving if it posts an increase in jobs, home prices and single-family housing permits for at least six months.

"The substantial gain in the number of improving housing markets in January shows that more consumers are looking favorably at a home purchase in light of today's historically low interest rates and attractive prices," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company. The average rate of a 30-year-fixed mortgage dropped to match the lowest on record last week, with Freddie Mac putting the number at 3.91 percent.

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