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Builders' optimism seems well-placed, as building permits and new-home construction show a significant increase over 2011. Resurgence may aid economy.
The decline has been more dramatic in California, where inventory has declined by more than a third in some cities, and prices have risen.
The highest builder-confidence rating in 5 years comes despite problems with credit and the weakness of the overall economy.
Houston joins the list of markets that the NAHB sees as improving. But the builders' group's index fails to regain the 20% of cities that fell off last month.
For the first time since cars become popular in the 1920s, U.S. cities — or at least some of them — are growing faster than their surrounding suburbs.
7 of the 10 major metros that showed the greatest increase in asking prices in the past year have a high rate of foreclosures still in the pipeline.
Eight of the 15 fastest-growing cities were in Texas, perhaps thanks to the real-estate bust elsewhere.
An analysis by the NAHB says that more students are taking out their own loans to pay for college. But the builders group doesn't expect student debt to drag down the market.
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