We closed 2011 with positive trends on several fronts for housing. Starts and permits were higher in 2011 than 2010. Most improvement was in multifamily, but single-family improved in 27 of the largest 100 markets. In existing-homes, we saw a shift away from distressed sales and toward regular resales.

Florida markets dominated the list of the largest markets that experienced significant improvement in healthy home closings in 2011. Florida also led the list of markets with improving shares of healthy home closings out of total home closings, so it wasn’t just growth in overall home sales but that distressed sales were also declining.

Markets with limited and declining distress tended to see home-price appreciation in 2011. Of the 100 largest MSAs, 12 markets had REO sales at less than 20 percent share of total home sales with that share declining year-over-year. Eleven of the 12 markets saw home prices stabilize or appreciate.

According to preliminary estimates on home sales in 2012, the positive trends will continue. Expect to see growing healthy sales, rising employment related to construction activity, and home-price stabilization as the year progresses.