Housing barometer shows strong signs for spring

Data from the National Association of Realtors may indicate a positive change for housing --- its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose 8.2 percent from January to a better-than-expected February reading of 97.6. This index is often used as a barometer for how the market is doing, and the rise exceeded economists' expectations. Some analysts attributed the boost to a temporary tax credit.

Winter home sales were sluggish. But an extension of a tax credit that enables a break of up to $8,000 if first-time home buyers sign a contract by April 30 may signal a strong report for March home sales data.

In an interview with Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland, UCLA professor Ed Leamer discussed where he thinks the housing market is right now.

I think that there has been a stabilization. There hasn't been significant appreciation. This market isn't going to get healthy again till we get the buyers back. It's a chicken-and-egg problem, because the buyers are not going to come back until they're confident that home prices are going to stabilize.

See more of more of Marketplace's coverage on housing by clicking here.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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