A combination of strong U.S. economy and job market, plus low mortgage rates, will continuously drive up the new-home market in 2016, but probably won't immediately return to the pre-crisis levels of sales and construction, according to David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders. The Associated Press staffer Alex Veiga listens to speeches delivered by economists during a panel in NAHB International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, and writes down the economists' forecasts. Veiga writes, 

U.S. homebuilders are entering 2016 feeling better about their sales prospects than they have in years, thanks to rising home prices and gradually improving sales.New-home sales climbed nearly 15 percent through the first 11 months of last year, while construction of single-family homes hit an eight-year high in November. The trends have helped lift construction hiring: Construction companies added 215,000 jobs last year, a 3.4 percent gain. Even so, sales and construction have yet to rebound fully from the housing bust nearly a decade ago. Whether that progress continues this year will depend largely on the U.S. economy continuing to improve. That's come increasingly into doubt lately. Faltering growth in countries like China, the world's second-largest economy, and financial market turmoil have heightened concerns that the U.S. economy could be in for a stumble.
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