According to panelists at NAHB’s Construction Forecast Webinar on April 27, the real estate recovery will start feeling like a true recovery in 2012.

Home prices nationally are almost back to “normal” levels relative to income, and economists predict that mortgage rates will remain affordable. The idea is that more buyers will enter the housing market as the economy and number of jobs continue to rise.

While some of the cities that were hit hardest still have some catching up to do, many other markets are poised to stage a recovery now. Panelists are saying that the only thing holding back builders in these locations are traditional lenders. By not providing the credit needed to renew the production process (due to a blanket interdiction against real estate lending), the recovery process is moving slowly.

Even though single-family starts in 2011 will be about roughly the as last year, single-family building is expected to show “significant improvement in 2012,” NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe promised.

Here are some other key points from the Construction Forecast Webinar:

  • Although 14 million homeowners are underwater, Mark Zandi (chief economist for Moody’s Analytics) believes that the housing market is unlikely to encounter major setbacks in the near future. He believes that investors are key to stabilizing the housing prices.
  • Based on data from the National Association of Realtors, home prices compared to income has returned to the fairly stable level that existed during the 1990’s – roughly three to three-and-a-half percent.
  • Robert Denk, NAHB’s assistant vice president for forecasting and analysis, has stated that by the end of this year, housing production will return to 41 percent of normal production (2000-2003) on a national average, and by the end of 2012, it will rise to 60 percent of normal. While states that were hit the hardest – Arizona, Florida and California – will only return to roughly 40 percent of normal production by the end of 2012, a large number of states like North Dakota, Texas, Hawaii and Washington will return to roughly 80 to 90 percent.


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