Despite uncertainty in the economy and job market, housing data has shown modest improvement, according to Fannie Mae’s most recent monthly economic forecast. According to the report, new home sales and housing starts were up during the second quarter and home prices firmed, though existing home sales lost momentum. Pending home sales also saw improvements, as did inventory levels and the share of distressed sales. Despite the gains, Fannie Mae economists Doug Duncan and Orawin T. Velz express caution due to sluggish economic growth and the extent to which recent improvements were seasonally driven. Still, they expect historically low mortgage rates to spur refinance activity, which could help offset the headwinds facing household finances. More here.