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Good News on Housing

We’ve already been pleasantly surprised by some good economic news today, but there’s more. The Wall Street Journal reports that housing prices have risen over the past year by 1.2 percent—the largest gain in seven years. This is the latest in a string of reports suggesting that the housing market may be turning around, and many analysts are expressing an optimism that we’ve seem precious little of lately:

Prices still stand nearly 30% below their 2006 peak, but that is an improvement over the 35% peak-to-trough decline recorded in February. Data last week showed that sales of previously owned homes and construction of single-family housing units had reached their highest levels in more than two years.

“All in all, we are more optimistic about housing,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Of course, it would be a mistake to make too much of these positive reports. Prices do seem to be rising again, but other indicators suggest that there are still many obstacles to a full recovery for the industry. Nonetheless, this is heartening news.

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