Housing Won't Be 'Normal' Until 2015: Trulia

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The housing market is 53% back to "normal", according to Jed Kolko, chief economist of online real estate company Trulia.

In a blog post Tuesday, Kolko shared the results of Trulia's February 2013 Housing Barometer, a monthly roundup of where three key housing indicators -- construction starts, existing home sales and delinquencies and foreclosure trends -- are relative to their worst point during the crash and their long-term, pre-bubble "normal" levels.

Construction starts rose to 917,000 in February, their second-highest level since July 2008. Construction starts are now 43% of the way back to normal.

Existing home sales in February were up 10% year-over-year, with non-distressed sales up 25%. Inventory bounced back 10% in February, recording a bigger jump than the typical seasonal increase. That is welcome news to the housing market that has witnessed tight supply. Inventory needs to climb for existing home sales to increase in volume.

Overall, existing home sales are 70% back to normal, according to Trulia.

The share of mortgage loanss in default or foreclosure declined to 10.18% in February from 10.44% in January and is now at the lowest level since October 2008, according to Trulia. That is 46% back to normal.

So when does the housing market actually get to normal? "One year ago, the market was 33% back to normal. At this rate of recovery, 'normal' won't come until late 2015," Kolko wrote in his post. "Despite sustained improvement on every indicator, the housing market still has a way to go. The trend is up, but the road is long."

-- Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.

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