Mini Housing Boom Raises Hopes, Fears

For several months, pundits and economists have warned that demand for housing and housing prices would fall steadily for the first six months of this year, after the end of a brief recovery last year.

Well, it hasn't happened yet. In fact, the latest stack of housing reports for March shows the opposite -- a mini-housing boom is taking root for springtime. Existing homes sold at a seasonally-adjusted rate of 5.35 million a year in March. That's up from 5.01 million in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. Even better, new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted rate of 411,000 a year after hitting a record low of 324,000 in February, according to the Commerce Department.

These latest reports follow strong news on new home construction and pending home sales. Several reports also revised their February estimates upward to show that the demand for housing is strengthening, not failing.

But don't celebrate too hard. We're calling it a "mini" housing boom for a reason.