There is again interest in building new homes, and buyers of both new and existing homes are again looking to "move up" to something better.
Those are positive signs for both the real estate market and the economy overall, with many saying the U.S. economy cannot fully recover until home building takes off again, said Bill McCabe, broker/owner at Century 21 Executive Realty in Schererville.
"If I had to summarize my predictions for 2013 I would use the word 'confidence,'" McCabe said.
The U.S. Commerce Department reports housing and apartment starts were 12.1 percent higher in December than in November. When it comes to existing homes, the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reports the biggest percentage gains in home sales are in the $300,000-to-$500,000 range.
Homebuyers are finding it a bit easier to borrow money these days and the appraisal process is ever so slowly righting itself, McCabe said. But work remains to be done on both fronts.
Interest rates remain one of the strongest buyer incentives, with Freddie Mac's survey showing the rate on a traditional 30-year loan averaged just 3.66 percent last year, the lowest in history.