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The housing is showing plenty of strength, from sales and increases to a decrease in foreclosures.

“There are almost no indicators showing weakness,” says Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Among the recent bright spots:

  • Existing-home sales jumped more than 9 percent in 2012, the highest level in five years.
  • New-home reached a 54-month high in December 2012.
  • The delinquency and foreclosure rate is at its lowest level in four years.
  • A home remodeling index reached 55 in the first quarter of the 2012, the highest reading since 2004 (readings above 50 indicate a growth in remodeling activity).

Still, the housing market is about 52 percent as strong as it was prior to the 2008 housing crash, according to one housing index by , which factored in data from the of ®, U.S. Census construction, and Lender Processing Services.

The housing market faces challenges, such as the number of home owners still facing negative equity, inventories of for-sale homes remaining constrained, and mortgage remaining tight and preventing some buyers from qualifying for a loan.

“At this pace, ‘normal’ is still two or three years away,” says Jed Kolko, Trulia chief economist.

Source: “The Housing Market’s Long-term ,” MarketWatch (Jan. 25, 2013)

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