The beginning of a new year is always a time to reflect and consider goals and opportunities for the year ahead. As we begin 2012, there are many reasons for encouragement when it comes to the economy and real estate. If recent economic and real estate trends are any indication, 2012 will be a year when good things can happen not only for potential homebuyers and sellers, but for the country as a whole.
- Existing-home sales rose again in November, and remain at levels above those of a year ago. What’s more, pending home sales also continued to gain in November, reaching the highest level in 19 months, an indication that there will be more future sales.
- In November, sales of new single-family houses rose 1.6 percent from October and were 9.8 percent above November 2010. Additionally, housing starts surged to a one-and-a-half year high in November, and permits for future construction were the highest since March 2010.
- In a sign that the overall economy is strengthening, U.S. employment has grown solidly for the past six months, generating 100,000 jobs or more in each month for the first time since April 2006.
- The Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators showed two months of solid gains, signaling that the economy was gaining momentum and the risks of a recession were receding, and its Consumer Confidence Index improved to levels seen in April 2011.