We just got yet another confirmation that the economic powerhouse that is the US housing market is gaining momentum. So this is as good a time as any to reiterate—as we’ve done early and often—that we are seeing a really important shift in housing in the world’s largest economy.
Case-Shiller home price index
- The widely watched 20-city gauge of housing prices jumped 9.3% in February, compared to the same period of the prior year. That’s the best gain since May 2006. Check it out:
Existing home sales
- They’re still hovering around three-year highs. They’re not back to the boom period, but nor do we want them to be, as the housing boom was fueled by, well, widespread fraud.
Pending home sales
- They’re clearly picking up steam too. The fresh numbers showed them at a three-year high in March.
- Same story. In March they jumped to an annual clip of 1.04 million, the highest since 2008.
- Growth in the housing sector is helping to shore up the US economy, which is shrinking elsewhere, like in government spending.
- And those housing starts are just one of the ways that the dynamics of the housing market feed back into the economy. Check out the recent growth in construction jobs. Again, not gangbusters. But clearly better than during the worst of the recession and its aftermath.