Positive signs for home-buyers and sellers:
- Existing-home sales rose 3.3 percent in January, according to the National Association of Realtors. This represents the strongest sales pace since February 2007.
- The Commerce Department said new home sales rose 3.7 percent in January. That is 5.5 percent higher than a year ago.
- Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in January were 4.6 percent above the December rate, according to the Census Bureau and HUD.
- The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased to 114.8 in February, up from 111.6 in January.
- One in four U.S. adults say they are considering buying a home this year, which extrapolates to 59 million people, according to a recent survey by Bankrate.com.