Home sales and housing starts began turning up in early 2009, according to the State of the Nation’s Housing report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. First-time buyers and government help drove an increase in existing home sales, while record foreclosures continued.

“Many factors are still weighing heavily on the market,” says Nicolas P. Retsinas, Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Elevated vacancy rates, record foreclosures, the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, and continued high unemployment are all causes for concern.”

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