Despite some recent mixed readings of the economic tea leaves, there is a growing sense that housing is slowly improving and that the worst may be behind us. Earlier in the week the New York Times reported strong home sales in Phoenix, one of the hardest hit sunbelt cities. Most housing market statistics are mixed month to month in April and May but far better than they were in 2011. Other economic data is less encouraging in the last month — unemployment ticked up a tenth of a percentage point and weekly initial claims are creeping back towards the 400,000 level.
Where does this leave the guessing for the next S&P/Case-Shiller release for next Tuesday? The pessimists will point to employment trends, worries about Europe, and wonder why anyone would be rushing to buy a house. The optimists focus on improvements in home sales over the last year and the hope that prices are (finally) ready to follow the advance in sales activity upward. All will be revealed on Tuesday morning at 9 AM Eastern Time, stay tuned.