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Housing Market’s Recovery Picking Up Steam

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Experts say that the housing market has been in recovery for several months now, and new data shows that not only are those improvements continuing, but they may also be picking up momentum.

The housing recovery has surged in the past three or four months and through the end of October stands significantly closer to pre-meltdown levels than it did just a year prior, according to new data from the real estate tracking firm Trulia. Based on a number of factors, the housing market now stands at about 47 percent of the way to the levels observed prior to its collapse, but that is a stark improvement from the 25 percent seen in the same month last year, as well as the 32 percent observed as recently as June 2012.

“In October 2012, all three housing measures improved: construction starts increased again, existing-home sales rose, and the delinquency plus foreclosure rate dropped considerably,” wrote Jed Kolko, the chief economist at Trulia. “Even though construction and sales declined month-over-month in the Northeast region, stronger activity in the rest of the country outweighed the impact of Hurricane Sandy.”

Perhaps the most impressive improvement in this area came as a result of consumers getting caught up on their mortgage bills, the report said. Instances of both delinquency and foreclosure slipped to 10.64 percent of all outstanding mortgages, down from 11.27 percent in September and 11.88 percent in October 2011. This rate is now about 41 percent of the way to the “normal” level of 5.25 percent, and down from the January 2010 high of 14.36 percent.

Meanwhile, existing home sales rose 2 percent month-over-month to 4.79 million, which was still below the post-crisis high of 4.83 million from August, but 59 percent of the way back to the 5.5 million Trulia considers normal, the report said. Further, new construction starts rose 4 percent from September and 42 percent on an annual basis to 894,000. Nonetheless, this factor is still hovering at just 41 percent of normal levels, which are defined as 1.5 million.

Experts say that the recoveries made in the housing market are encouraging, but fragile, and overall the environment is still somewhat volatile. As such, many are not yet willing to say that a full recovery is under way.

Image: roger4336, via Flickr

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