Housing to drive economic growth (finally!)

Just over half of economists surveyed by CNNMoney identified a housing recovery as the
primary driver of economic growth this year.

The bursting of the housing bubble plunged the economy into a recession from which it has yet to fully recover. But economists say this could finally be the year that housing lifts us out of the doldrums.

Home sales rebounded to the strongest level in five years in 2012, as home building bounced back to levels not seen since early in the recession. Near record low mortgage rates, rising home prices and a drop in foreclosures have combined to bring buyers back to the market.

The economists surveyed also forecast that there will be just under 1 million housing starts this year — roughly matching the 28% rise in home building in 2012. Moody’s Analytics is forecasting much stronger growth — a 50% rise both this year and next year, which it estimates will create more than 1 million new jobs.

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