Not that all is rosy. The federal government said Friday that consumer spending rose 0.8 percent last month but that incomes rose just 0.2 percent, meaning people spent more than they saved. The saving rate dropped to 3.7 percent of after-tax income in February, the lowest level since August 2009, after averaging 4.7 percent throughout 2011, the government said.
More than pent-up demand could be at work, Dinnes said. With potential for the White House changing hands after the November election, and doubt hanging over the Bush-era tax cuts, some people could be acting — and spending — now, “taking advantage of what they know factually,” he said.
Builders aren't the only ones dancing to the higher tempo in the marketplace.
“Title companies, lenders and Realtors are working overtime to keep up with the sudden surge in home sales,” said Lorna Koeninger, president of the Metro Association of Realtors and an associate at Paradigm AdvantEdge Real Estate. “Sellers are starting to realize the low inventory and look at this being a good time to market their homes.
“March will prove to be the ‘start' of our spring market with listing inventory improving. We're looking, already, at a fantastic March. Buyers are taking advantage of the still low interest rates by purchasing a home and looking at homeownership vs. the rising rental costs.”