Down in Orlando, Florida, last week there were more housing market forecasts for the year just begun. Bottom line? Housing economists are cautiously optimistic about a recovery during 2011. These economists were presenting their views at the annual meeting of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). None of the experts see a robust upturn for housing. But they do feel that home sales, which have been in a bit of a stall, may start to recover soon.

The prevailing opinion is that the residential market should pick up in the spring, thanks to low mortgage rates and home prices at bargain levels. The NAHB’s chief economist feels that recent economic indicators are “signifying growing consumer confidence.” These indicators include job creations, good retail sales, and increasing purchases of big ticket items like cars and furniture. Freddie Mac’s chief economist sees home prices bottoming in the first six months. He expects mortgage rates to edge up slightly but still remain at historically low levels. Overall, home sales are forecast to be up from 4% to 10% year-over-year and for new construction to be up by 20%.

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