The economy is improving.

57 straight months of private job growth, the longest consecutive stretch in recorded history

10.6 million private jobs have been created, more than were lost during the Great Recession

At 5.8%, the unemployment rate is at a six-year low

The unemployment rate in the triangle is 4.8%.  This is down from 6.3% in October 2013.

Recent GDP growth has been consistent between 2% and 3%

THE STOCK MARKET has reached all-time highs

Manufacturing is making a comeback, generating well-paying jobs

Industrial production has fully recovered

Consumer confidence is up

Small businesses are more confident than they’ve been in more than six years

Specifically, the labor market has made dramatic strides toward recovery.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%, the lowest level since July 2008

Initial weekly unemployment insurance claims are at their lowest levels in 14 years

Private job growth has averaged almost 270,000 new payrolls per month

Labor market turnover is increasing, opening up opportunities for newcomers

Corporations are performing astonishingly well.

57% of companies reporting have exceeded Wall Street expectations

There is a vast amount of CASH residing on strong balance sheets

Consumer spending is rising, critical for an economy driven by discretionary spending

Business of all sizes in nearly all sectors are hiring

Our nation’s fiscal health is on much better footing.

Deficit spending has decreased by more than 66% since 2008

Five straight years of deficit shrinkage puts it at 2.8 percent of GDP and below the 40-year average

The national debt-to-GDP ratio has declined, which is a good thing

Wage growth is finally picking up.

Hourly wages rose 0.4% in November 2014, the largest monthly gain since June 2013

Employees are working more hours and earning more per hour worked, both positive developments

Wage growth is likely to increase more notably in 2015, given the strong job growth in 2014

Inflation is nowhere to be seen.

Inflation has been below the Fed’s target of 2.0% annually

Most increases in consumer costs are due to drought or other factors

Gas prices are down dramatically, which should boost retail shopping and travel

Home prices have been rising.

Home prices have turned around and are now rising in most local and regional markets

National data from Case-Shiller and local MLS data confirm this trend

About 80% of the local markets 10K covers showed a year-over-year median price gain in October

Interest rates are still low and should remain attractive into 2015.

Mortgage rates on a 30-year fixed loan wavered between 4.0% and 4.5% for most of 2014

Rates should remain below 4.5% in the first half of 2015, but may approach 5.0% later

Affordability levels remain well above long-term averages

Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures are a lesser factor.

Delinquency on mortgage LOANS fell to 5.85%* of all LOANS for Q3-2014, lowest since Q4-2007

The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process was 2.4% in Q3-2014, also lowest since Q4-2007

The foreclosure rate has fallen dramatically in both judicial and non-judicial foreclosure states

Mortgage credit liquidity is a mixed bag.

Credit availability is still a drag on housing recovery

Refinance activity was declining then picked up again

Credit-worthy buyers should have an easier time securing FINANCING in 2015 than in 2014

We predict more of the same in 2015.

New listings should increase moderately (up 7 to 12%)

Closed sales should increase modestly (up 4 to 7%)

Prices should continue to rise but at a tempered pace more in line with historical norms (up 4 to 7%)

Inventory should rise fairly significantly, driven by seller activity and new construction (up 10 to 15%)

Days on market until sale may go up due to rising inventory and fewer bidding wars (up 2 to 5%)

The percent of original list price received at sale may decline with an easing seller’s market (down 1 to 2%)

Foreclosures and short sales should continue to slow with improving household FINANCES and employment

New construction is likely to rise in most metropolitan areas, alleviating supply shortages

* on one- to four-unit residential properties; seasonally adjusted rate