The housing market's fate is intrinsically dependent upon the overall fate of the economy of the United States as a whole. Makes logical sense, right? You could probably say the same thing about the retail market and the vehicle market and, really, about any market in which money is exchanged for goods and services. This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that these individual markets' fate will always mirror that of the overall U.S. market.

As we all know, America is in the midst of a multi-year economic slog. The reasons, justifications and rationalizations for the steep and sudden downturn are complex and confusing – so much so that even the country's professional economic brain wizards disagree on many of the finer points. When it comes to the real estate market, let’s just acknowledge that there was and likely still is an economic recession and look at the housing market's situation.

Some economic experts indicate that it was the inherent volatility of the housing market that played, if not the biggest, then certainly one of the biggest roles in creating the recession in the first place. Others say that the housing market's crash was collateral damage sustained by virtually every individual market that make up the nation's economy as a whole. The arguments will undoubtedly go on for years.

Whatever brought on the recession is essentially water under the bridge now, other than as a learning tool for what not to do. Regarding the future, economists are analyzing today's data and making educated, if cautious, predictions about the future of the nation's economy and its various markets. The reports of their findings are guardedly positive in some areas, including those coming from housing market analysts.

As the larger economy continues to struggle, the housing data is showing that the worst may be over. Data from July 17th underscore this view as home builders’ confidence showed the largest monthly increase in almost a decade.

The National Association of Home Builders indicated that its housing market index increased to 35 in July – the best since March of 2007. This also represented a rise of six points over June 2012. According to Cooper Howes of Barclays, “2012 is expected to be the first year since 2005 in which residential investment will provide a positive contribution to GDP growth.” 

Could it be that the U.S. housing market could be changing from a drag on the economy to a source of strength? Time will tell, and it’s unclear considering the overall struggles that continue in the economy, but it’s great to see housing trending positively.