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Springing forward?

By Judy Martel ·
Monday, April 16, 2012
Posted: 6 pm ET

At first, it looked like the week was off to a good start with a shot of welcome news for the housing market: We were poised to enjoy a rebound during peak buying season this spring, as both brokers and buyers were expressing more confidence, aided by low mortgage rates and home prices, along with an uptick in employment.

Then the numbers came in from the National Association of Home Builders and clouded the sunny picture. Confidence among home builders dropped to a level not seen in four months, partly because buyer interest in the past few months hasn't turned into actual sales and partly due to the nagging housing problems of the past few years. Those include difficulties obtaining accurate appraisals, tight lending standards for borrowers and an oversupply of foreclosures on the market.

But, as buyer confidence has begun increasing, so have home prices. Even areas hard-hit by the housing crash such as Phoenix have seen slight increases, according to data from CoreLogic. In Miami, Trulia reports that home prices have increased by 14 percent. Other markets, including California and Las Vegas, continue to suffer or remain stagnant.

We may be a long way from a healthy housing market, but it's beginning to look like we're at least pointed in the right direction toward a bumpy recovery.

If you want to buy, sell or refinance, you can learn more about housing and mortgage trends by reading Bankrate reporter Polyana da Costa's Spring 2012 editorial package.

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