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Housing improving in more markets

Along with Pittsburgh, New Orleans is one of the biggest cities experiencing an improving housing market.

Along with Pittsburgh, New Orleans is one of the biggest cities experiencing an improving housing market.

Twenty-three individual housing markets are now on the upswing, compared with 12 in September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index. Moving trucks have been a more common sight in the cities, which met the requirement of six months of improvement.

Eleven states are home to the improving cities, which include Alexandria, Houma and New Orleans in Louisiana; Casper, Wyoming; Pine Bluff and Jonesboro in Arkansas; and Fairbanks and Anchorage in Alaska.

"Both the number and geographic diversity of improving housing markets expanded this month, with Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina all newly represented by one entry or more on the list," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen. "This is further evidence that, despite the tough conditions that persist in many cities, pockets of improvement are emerging in local housing markets across the country."

New Orleans and Pittsburgh are the largest cities on the list, but the list has many cities in which energy and agriculture are the major industries. For instance, many of the seven Texas cities on the list have large agricultural or oil markets.

Amarillo, Texas, was No. 2 on the housing list. The average listing price for homes there for the week ending September 28 was up 0.9 percent from the week before to $218,854, according to Trulia. The median listing price of $79,500 in June to August 2011 was a year-over-year increase of 82.7 percent.