The contraction in economic output (real GDP) slowed considerably in the second quarter and available data point toward resumption of positive growth in the third quarter of this year. It is now likely that the official end to the “Great Recession” lies somewhere within the quarter that just ended, although the decision about exact timing won’t be announced for some time.

The housing production component of GDP, residential fixed investment (RFI), is part of the imminent swing from negative to positive economic growth, thanks partly to the temporary $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The troughs in home sales and housing starts occurred in the first quarter, and RFI should make a positive contribution to GDP growth in the third quarter of the year.

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