Housing market shows most growth in three years

A new report from the National Association for Realtors finds sales of existing homes are showing the most growth in more than three years.

Housing market on the rebound

There are three signs that the market is doing well right now: housing inventory is low, rates are low, and home builders are seeing a lot of work. There are currently two million homes on the market, half the typical number of four million. But, surprisingly, it is not just a seller's market.

"It's a seller's market because there are just not a lot of houses for sale, so you can hold out for a good price but it's also a buyer's market because the rates are so low," said Mellody Hobson, CBS News contributor and analyst, who explained:

"The average 30-yearfixed rate is at 3.81 percent. Let's say you buy the average house at about $174,000. Your monthly mortgage payment is just over $800 a month. That's incredibly affordable. So if you're a buyer, you can buy at a great price and likely see prices not stay this low for very long, they're going to continue to go up."

However, builders are having a hard time keeping up with demand, and a larger part of that is finding the workforce to construct the homes, despite the nation's high unemployment rate. When the market was down, many people left the industry to find jobs with more stability, and there's also the immigration factor.

"Construction workers who are very skilled left the industry during the worst of the downturn and joined the energy industry, working on rigs and doing fracking and things like that," said Hobson. "They have a hard time bringing them back because they're making good money, not to mention some of our immigration policies have led some of our immigrants to leave the country, who were lower paid skilled workers in the construction industry."

Homes sales highest in more than 3 years

Hobson says the news signals big improvements for the economy in the long run.

"First of all, across the board, home prices are up about 11 percent. We've seen individual cities in regions grow and we absolutely see when homes go up, people feel better and that affects the economy in a good way," said Hobson. "Happy days are here to come in 2013."

For Mellody Hobson's full interview, watch the video in the player above.

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