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At Long Last, Sustained Signs of a Housing Rebound

An ETF for those investors bold enough to take a flier on the exuberant homebuilding sector.

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Each new week, it seems, brings more good news to the beleaguered United States housing sector, in the form of a wave of economic reports showing improving housing prices and growing numbers of housing starts. Most recently, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index showed rising U.S. home prices again during the month of July. For four consecutive months now, home prices broadly have risen, and for three straight months, every one of the 20 cities included in that index registered housing price increases.

At the start of the year, Morningstar's director of economic analysis Bob Johnson, CFA, made the case that the housing market would see "meaningful improvement" in 2012, although he cautioned, "it might be a second-half story." The growing numbers of positive reports on housing suggest that that is precisely how the housing story is playing out. More recently, Bob has stated that "the strength in the housing recovery has been building for most of 2012 but has yet to have much of an impact on overall economic activity. I think that will change in the second half as existing homes purchased in the first half are remodeled and furnished."

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Robert Goldsborough does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.