As the market improves, it may take some re-education for us to step away from years of pessimism about the housing market. 

Sure, it's reasonable to have fears that the April 30 expiration of the 2010 Home Buyer Tax Credits would dampen home sales. But a new Prudential Real Estate and Relocation Services study finds prospective home buyers still believe now is a good time to buy. And they are confident that home prices will rise.

The survey of 1,000 adult Americans conducted April 15-20 found more than 90 percent of consumers believe that the home buyer tax credit helped the U.S. housing market overall. Among consumers actually shopping for homes, 65 percent believe that the end of the tax credits will have little or no effect on their interest in purchasing a home.

 Other market indicators provide positive signals. Standard & Poors Case-Shiller home index registered house prices rising 0.6 percent in February 2010, the first gain since December 2006. Of the top 20 housing markets, 10 registered gains.

Another positive sign: a half-dozen home builders were in a bidding war for housing tracts in the downtrodden Phoenix market last month, preparing to build anew. And giants like Pulte, KB Home, Toll Brothers and more than a dozen others will see a windfall from $2.6 billion in tax refunds from the economic stimulus package.

Healthier builders indicate buyers are returning all along the home supply chain. Ironically, another indicator of improvement is found in the rising costs of supplies, with lumber prices up 59% according to the Wall St. Journal Market Data Group; and H. B. Fuller announcing prices rises of 8% to 15%. This double-edged sword indicates both growing demand and constraints on supply.

As a publisher, we too sense recovery among our valued stakeholders: our advertisers, and among you, our audience. We will continue to improve access for you to the best business and technical information this year, enriching CWB and Wood & Wood Products magazines, and as recovery progresses.

And write and let me know what kind of information you'd like to see, or see more of, this year.

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