WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- Better-than-expected real estate data offered welcome news about the economy this month, but the housing market continues to bounce along the bottom, said Kevin Brungardt, CEO of RoundPoint Financial, a mortgage origination and servicing firm. TheStreet spoke with Brungardt after data released in recent days showed that pending home sales rose 2% in December , new-home sales spiked 17.5% and existing-home sales rebounded 12.3% .
He said the reports showed generally nice data points, especially that the supply of new homes for sale fell below the 7-month mark , but that "housing keeps plodding along toward a slow recovery" facing a number of headwinds. Brungardt reiterated the usual suspects of headwinds facing the residential real estate market, namely high unemployment, potential buyers' low confidence in the stability of home prices and the large inventory of distressed properties that still need to be cleared. That list was virtually unchanged from when TheStreet spoke with the mortgage origination CEO last month. At the time Brungardt forecast that the shadow inventory of homes could take two to three years to clear to a point where housing supply and demand begin to match up again, and that no acknowledged housing bottom will appear until that shadow inventory is significantly curtailed. In other words, he doesn't expect the U.S. housing market to recover until 2013 , at least.