Expectations rising for housing market spring season

Housing Market Looking Good In South Bend

By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

The spring home-selling season could be the strongest in years and may foreshadow which markets will lead a battered housing industry in an anemic recovery, economists say.

“This spring will be the litmus test for housing demand,” says Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist for Mizuho Securities USA.

The spring season typically runs March through June but may have started early this year because of unseasonably warm weather.

While last year was dismal for existing home sales, this year is looking better. Existing home sales in February were up 9% from the same time a year ago, as was the Pending Home Sale Index, which reflects signed contracts leading to sales, says the National Association of Realtors.

Meanwhile, Realtors’ confidence in the single-family home market is the highest in four years, according to a late February NAR survey of 4,300 agents. Coldwell Banker says its website’s traffic was up 47% in February from last year.

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