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Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam despite Persistent Headwinds

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housing_market_growth_chartWith home prices and household formations rising and household balance sheets healing, the ongoing housing recovery is expected to gain momentum next year even as several challenges remain, according to economists who participated in a recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Fall 2013 Construction Forecast Webinar.

“The cards are in play for a decent and fairly strong recovery in 2014 and particularly in 2015,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “From the standpoint of GDP growth, housing has been a plus, growing at two, three and four times the rate of the rest of the economy in recent quarters.”

Helping to spur the housing rebound was a double-digit increase in home prices over the past year, driven in part by tight inventories of new and existing homes for sale and gradual gains in employment.

“We expect to see price increases moderate in the next few years as we see additional inventory on the market and investors back away as the bargains disappear,” said Crowe.

Another bright spot is rising household formations that were delayed during the downturn as college graduates and young professionals were forced to move back in with their parents or double up as roommates. At the height of the housing boom, the U.S. was producing 1.4 million additional households every year. That figure plunged to 500,000 during the depth of the recession and today is now back up to 700,000.

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