As 2014 came to a close, positive economic reports lead many real estate analysts to forecast a solid spring selling season and continued housing improvement throughout 2015. The rosy outlook was based on falling unemployment numbers, historically low mortgage rates, and pent-up buyer demand. The combination of these factors was supposed to help balance the market and lead to improved sales and new home construction. But, so far this year, housing data has shown a slower-than-expected start to the year, due in part to harsh winter weather across much of the country. Despite the slow start, however, analysts still expect a strong spring. For example, Freddie Mac’s most recent Multi-Indicator Market Index found a slight month-over-month decline in the housing market’s strength but their deputy chief economist, Len Kiefer, still believes the residential real-estate market will heat up along with the weather. “Housing markets weakened slightly this month, which is no surprise considering the harsh winter and slowdown in economic activity at the outset of 2015,” Kiefer said. “While single-family purchase applications dipped a bit across the board from December to January, they are still up nearly 3 percent from last year. Improving employment and attractive mortgage rates should help to support increased purchase applications, particularly as weather warms up and we head into the spring home buying season.” More here.