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The real estate market has been constrained by tight supply and tight credit, but one economist is predicting 2015 will be a good year for housing.
According to a new report from Redfin, almost 70 percent of homes on the market are "stale," meaning they have sat on the market for more than a month. At the same time, there is a lack of listings and home prices are rising. Existing home sales increased 6.1 percent in March, their highest level in 18 months, the National Association of Realtors said earlier this week.
Because many people lost equity in their homes, they aren't selling, explained Christopher Thornburg, founding principal of the research and consulting firm Beacon Economics.
However, he thinks the trends are looking up.
"It is easier to get credit right now. You're starting to see stabilization in outstanding mortgage debt. Banks are starting to lend again," Thornburg said in an interview with "Closing Bell. "
Plus, recent estimates by the Federal Reserve show that Americans have about $13 trillion in equity in their homes, up from about $8 trillion at the bottom of the housing downturn, he added.
"As things start to circulate, people are more confident about their jobs. They're making more money. I think this is going to be a very good year for housing."
Dottie Herman, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, called the housing market "hot."
While people haven't been moving, factors are now starting to change, she said.
"They're just starting to gain their equity back so they can actually make a move," Herman said.
In addition, Millennials, the typical age for first-time home buyers, were sitting out of the market, but she thinks the generation is going to start buying.
Herman is predicting "sustainable growth," nothing like the double-digit prices moves that occurred prerecession.
As for new home sales, they've been about 20 percent higher since last year, but most of that activity has been on the high end of the market, Thornburg noted.
Lower-priced new construction has still been constrained by the weak labor market and tight credit conditions, he said. As long as those things pick up, he believes the builders who will do better are those who focus on the lower end of the market.