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The 2013 U.S. Housing Market at a Glance

By Colin Ryan

Courtesy Flickr user woodleywonderworks

After the housing market collapse of 2007, many experts worried that the market would never fully recover. Six years later, the dust has finally settled and the housing market appears to be on the rise.

The big question in 2012 was whether home prices had hit rock bottom. We now have our answer: Yes. All of the major indexes now show that asking and sales prices are on the rise.

For all of 2012, the average price of new homes sold was $288,400: an 8-percent increase from 2011’s average price of $267,900. The average price of existing homes also experienced an increase, growing 5 percent from $214,000 to $225,100 during the same time period.

Looking to the future, the big question for the rest of 2013 is whether the upswing in home prices will continue strongly enough to encourage homeowners to sell and home-builders to build. After all, more homes on the market leads to more sales and gives homebuyers more options to choose from.

Based on last year’s numbers, we have good reason to be (cautiously) optimistic. In 2012, builders completed 651,400 housing units: an 11-percent increase from 2011. Of these completed builds, 484,600 were single-family units (9-percent more than in 2011), and 158,100 were multi-family units (22-percent more than in 2011).

But while the housing market is gaining ground, some worry that it won’t last. Industry experts point out that investors are currently taking advantage of deflated prices and low interest rates. When those prices and rates rise, it’s likely that demand will soften and investors will pull back.

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