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Surging Prices, Rates Test Robust Demand in U.S. Housing Market

• by Vince Golle

But while demand shows few signs of teetering, jumps in both property values and borrowing costs will test the market's durability.

Home sales are now hovering near expansion highs, though momentum has been kept in check by lean inventory that's fueling an acceleration in prices. That's the conundrum for the nation's housing industry and its customers.

The following charts, derived from the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey and other figures, help explain how Americans' views of the real estate market are evolving and how they compare to previous cycles:

1. Good Time to Sell, But...

In early May, 39 percent of respondents in the Michigan survey said selling conditions were optimal because of favorable prices. That marked the highest share in records to late 1992. But will that be enough to encourage homeowners to list their properties and help alleviate the supply crunch plaguing the market?

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