Green shoots in housing?

The value of the average home in America is down 25 percent since the peak in May, 2007, and $7 trillion of homeowner wealth has been wiped out since then, but the relentless slide in home prices is slowing, and some surveys predict prices will rise a little next year.

Easier to Afford?

For family earning $61,000/yr

- Can afford $325,000 home

- More than double natl. median

    - Mortgage: 13.5% of income

    Source: National Assn. of Realtors

    Housing starts for the month of April were up and home builder confidence is at a 5-year high. Another report found home affordability at the highest in 40 years. A family earning just under $61,000/year, the median income in the U.S., can now afford a home costing more than $325,000, more than double the median price of an existing home right now. A monthly mortgage would be just 13.5 percent of what the family makes. It's still harder to qualify for mortgages, but rates are at record lows. The average 30-year fixed home loan was only 3.83 percent last week. The average 15-year rate was just above 3 percent, and 5 year arm was 2.81 percent.

    A true recovery in housing though depends on a recovery in jobs, and that's what is still missing.