The housing industry received some positive news this week: Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 11 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 unit. This is according to U.S. Commerce Department numbers released on July 27. The gain marks a third consecutive month of improved sales activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).”Today’s report is good news that indicates the nation’s housing market may be in the process of turning the corner,” said Joe Robson, NAHB chairman and a home builder from Tulsa, Okla.

But he adds that Congress needs to take action to make sure this positive news continues.

“The key to moving us out of recession is to get Americans back to work,” he said. “Congress and the Administration should know that housing can be a significant generator of good jobs. We need to make housing a priority in the recovery process, otherwise we could continue to bounce along a bottom for some time.”

More good news was that the gain in home sales was reflected in three out of four regions (Sales activity declined 5.3 percent in the South, which is the country’s largest housing market) and helped shrink the inventory of new homes for sale to its lowest level in years, according to NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

“Even so, the pace of home sales in June 2009 was still more than 21 percent off the pace of sales in the same month last year, so we still have quite a way to go. The concern now is that complicating factors – particularly job losses, appraisal issues that are torpedoing more than a quarter of new-home sales, and the impending expiration of the first-time buyer tax credit – threaten to stifle the positive momentum.”

The number of newly built homes on the market declined for a 26th consecutive month in June, falling 4.1 percent to 281,000 units. This marks a relatively thin 8.8-month supply at the current sales pace, according to the NAHB.

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