On the cusp of a midsummer weekend, this piece from The Wall Street Journal should make for a few smiles among home builders and the folks who work for them:
Housing is finally getting its groove back.
For those looking for reasons the economy has been so lackluster for so long, the weak housing market is a good place to start. With home buying and construction persistently low, investment in residential real estate has added just 1.2 percentage points to gross domestic product in the seven years since the recession ended. After the 2001 recession, it took just 2½ years to clear that mark.
But lately the housing market has been showing more signs of life. Sales of previously owned homes last month hit their highest level since 2007, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Mortgage applications aimed at purchasing a home (as opposed to refinancing an existing mortgage) have been on the rise. Housing start figures earlier this week showed that ground-breaking on new homes rebounded in June.