According to the most recent release from Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group, the housing market’s performance during the second quarter has been increasingly positive despite sluggishness in the broader economy. Home prices have begun to rise and, based on some measures, are posting their best year since 2005. Also, new home sales are up nearly 20 percent from the year before and existing home sales have improved 10 percent over the past 12 months. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said the increasingly positive news from the housing market has compensated for some of the economy’s sluggishness. But despite year-over-year gains, the report cautions that housing activity remains below historical standards and shows signs of only modest growth through the rest of 2012. More here.