The housing market was the first domino to fall in the financial crisis, and it's been one of the last to recover. But there are a few signs that things may finally be starting to look up, as home sales and housing prices have been creeping upward.
First, there's been a consistent rise in the price of distressed homes since the end of 2011. "That’s something we haven’t seen before," economist Jared Bernstein points out. "If it sticks, it obviously provides support to overall home prices."
Housing sales have also been recovering, albeit less steadily, as JPMorgan's Michael Feroli points out in a research note this week. "The gain in pending home sales occurred in all four regions of the country, and the region with the biggest increase -- the West, up 14.5% -- was the region that had the biggest tumble back in April," he wrote.
There have been a lot of false dawns for the housing market in particular, so it's still a bit premature to herald a major housing recovery. Given how economically damaging the housing bust was, it's still a long road back: Trulia's Jed Kolko predicts that housing prices won't fully recover until late 2015. But if these upward trends in sales and prices continue, it's not a bad start.