We've been noting for months that the data flow from the housing market has been generally positive. Prices, as measured by the Case-Schiller indices, continue to fall or stagnate. But housing starts, and sales of existing and new homes have been rising persistently so far in 2012. On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales in June were up 4.5 percent from June 2011, while prices were up 7.9 percent. On Wednesday, the Census Bureau reported that new home starts in June were up 23.6 percent from June 2011. As has been the case since the second quarter of 2011, housing-related activity is a factor that adds to economic growth rather than one that detracts from it.
But as Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the influential Matrix blog, puts it, that doesn't mean we can declare that the housing markets has recovered. Rather, it's recovering. "It's a process rather than a moment in time," he said.
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