Home prices and home buyer confidence are rising in tandem, as the housing recovery appears to be gaining steam, even into the winter months.
A drop in sales of distressed properties are largely to thank for both. Just under 34 percent of homes sold in November were either foreclosures or short sales, according to a new report from Inside Mortgage Finance. That's the lowest level in three years, down from a record high of nearly 46 percent in 2011.
"Current homeowners are continuing to drive the recovery of the housing market," according to IMF's latest HousingPulse. "In November, current homeowners accounted for 46.3 percent of the total home purchase transactions tracked. This was the highest level ever recorded in the HousingPulse survey and was up from 44.8 percent a year earlier." (Read More: Housing's Repo Man Is Back)
Up to now the housing recovery had been fuelled by investors buying up thousands of distressed properties, the bulk of them in western states like Arizona, Nevada and California. This helped shrink supplies in those states and boost prices by double digits. While it may seem like the distress is quickly flying out of the market, that may not be the case just yet. (Read More: Best US Housing Markets for Buyers and Sellers)