Paul Salfen at DSNews reports that:

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) delivered some good news Monday: 59 of the 350 metro markets have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity. In the NAHB/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), the national average is running at 88 percent, with 11 metros gained year-over-year.

With the spring buying season in the housing market right around the corner and stronger employment numbers reported, confidence is gaining that economic recovery is right around the corner. Analysts and home builders alike agree that that this looks to be a very strong year for housing. A steady release of pent up demand from buyers seems imminent, so there is light at the end of the tunnel—and it’s not a train.

“I think the big news here is that regions outside of the energy states continue to gain ground,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “It’s a promising sign to see areas like Los Angeles and San Jose joining the top ten largest MSAs [metropolitan statistical areas] showing a recovery. We still expect 2014 to be a strong year for housing and to aid in the overall economic recovery. The job market continues to mend and with that we will see a steady release of pent up demand of buyers.”

Read the full article here.