The U.S. housing recovery is real and underway. The end-of-year numbers are in for the primary housing measures. Existing home sales were up 9 percent in 2012 from 2011; new home sales were up 20 percent in 2012 from a year earlier and housing starts were up 27 percent this past year compared to the previous year. Granted, these advances were based off historically low bases but we will take what we can get after six years mired in a housing recession. Perhaps a more telling statistic for the nation’s housing outlook is appreciating home values. Over the past six months, home prices increased between 4 and 9 percent, according to the major home price indexes.