Housing Indicators Looking Up

The Editors | Aug. 9, 2012, 3:32 p.m.

The housing market went into freefall in 2007 with the crisis in subprime mortgages and hit bottom in mid-2009. Long after the recession formally ended, key indicators continued to show tepid to nonexistent growth, but there have been strong signs this year that the market has started to turn.

Residential investment has been growing on a year-over-year basis for four straight quarters following five years of contraction. Last quarter, prices of existing single-family homes increased over the prior year by 7.3 percent, growth not seen since the beginning of 2006. And housing starts have climbed back over 2 million per quarter — nowhere near prerecession levels, but showing steady growth.

Hover on the graph to see quarterly data points for each indicator.

Read more at CQ.com: The Benefits of Doing Nothing for Housing

About the Data

Residential investment is reported as part of the quarterly GDP report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Figures shown in the graph are year-over-year change calculated from inflation-adjusted totals in table 1.1.6, not quarterly change at an annual rate as reported in table 1.1.1. BEA data is available for download here.

The home prices data is from the National Association of Realtors; the specific data set used in the graph is sale prices of existing single-family homes.

Housing starts are reported by the Census Bureau and can be found here.