The housing market is a major indicator of economic strength.
Is that market better today than it was a year ago? Existing home sales are expected to increase 5% to 10% in 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Home Builders says new home starts are expected to increase by 21%.
"But what you have to realize is that the bar is so low from last year, that it's not much to talk about improvement," said Guy Cecala, CEO and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. "We're improving from a terrible situation, but we're far, far away from any of the housing signs that we saw as recently as three or four years ago."
It is not a healthy market. Foreclosures continue to be a big problem. CNNMoney's Les Christie says 11 million to 12 million homes are still on the brink of repossession.
It all hinges on economic recovery.
"If fewer jobs are lost, there will be fewer foreclosures," Christie said. "If home prices start to rebound, there will be fewer," he said
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