What's Holding Up Housing?

Somehow, this big chunk of the economy has fared quite well despite the downturn. Help us figure out why

It would be hard to find an industry that has weathered the weak economy better than housing. Demand has held up, prices have risen 10% from a year ago, and homebuilders are busier than ever (see BW, 3/11/02, "The Homes Keep Selling" and "They Can't Build 'em Fast Enough"). Despite the risk of jinxing all that, it's tempting to claim that at the moment the real estate market appears recession-proof, a pleasant change from past economic slumps.

Of course, a hot market has its downside for buyers. The median price of a single-family home has reached $350,400 in Boston, $463,900 in San Francisco, and even $124,600 in the wide-open spaces of Dallas, where new homes traditionally sprout like weeds. That means buying a new house is becoming a stretch for many people. So at these prices, why are so many buyers still jumping in? That's one of the issues we want to explore in this BusinessWeek Online Reader Survey.

Please remember that this isn't a scientific poll, since it merely gathers the opinions of everyone who chooses to participate. Still, housing is a critical chunk of the economy, and your answers will help explain why it's doing so well. Please check back in a few days to see the results. Or you can tell us your e-mail (you'll have that chance after you complete the survey), and we'll send them to you. You can also catch the results on BusinessWeek TV on Sunday, Apr. 7. In the meantime, thanks for participating.

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