After years of depressed numbers in the housing market, could we be on the rebound? Perhaps the bigger question is do we have the technology that can help the market best prepare for a rebound?

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, www.jchs.harvard.edu, Cambridge, Mass., for one, is talking up the signs of a recovery. According to its The State of the Nation’s Housing, the market seems to be in early stages of a housing recovery with rental markets turning a corner, home sales strengthening, and a floor beginning to form under home prices. Eric Belsky, managing director, the Joint Center for Housing Studies, notes barring any broader economic tailspin, with new home inventories at record lows, he believes stronger sales should further stabilize prices and pave the way for a pickup in single-family housing construction during the remainder of 2012.

“Surveys consistently find that the overwhelming majority of young adults plan to own a home in the future, but many would-be buyers have stayed on the sidelines waiting for the job outlook to improve and house prices to stop falling,” says Belsky. “But as markets tighten, these fence-sitters may begin to take advantage of today’s lower home prices and unusually low mortgage rates. With rents up, home prices sharply down, and mortgage interest rates at record lows, monthly mortgage costs relative to monthly rents haven’t been this favorable since the early 1970s.”

A report last week from the National Assn. of Home Builders, www.nahb.org, Washington, D.C., also put a spotlight on some recovery activities in the housing market. According to the NAHB, the list of U.S. housing markets showing measurable and sustained improvement now includes 80 metropolitan areas. While this is less than the 100 markets NAHB had shown as improving in May, the list includes 28 new entrants and at least one representative from 31 different states, and this includes the District of Columbia.

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective trough in housing permits, employment, and house prices for at least six consecutive months. This month’s IMI showed some considerable shifting of markets on and off the list, with 52 metros holding on to their spots, 48 slipping from the list and 28 being added. Notable new entrants to the improving list in June include Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Fargo, N.D.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Dallas, Texas.

Chris Herbert, director of research, the Joint Center for Housing Studies, believes the housing sector needs a sustained increase in jobs in order to bring household growth back to its long-term pace and spur demand. He adds, “The country has seen new household formations fall well below expected long-run rates due to a falloff in young adults being able to move out on their own and a slowdown in net immigration. Even in 2011, fewer than 700,000 households were added and that’s well below the 1.2 million or more annual trend expected under more normal economic conditions.”

Despite the downturn, some construction software providers continue to thrive. Recently BuilderMT, www.buildermt.com, Lakewood, Colo., announced that since the onset of the housing crisis in 2007, that it has sold 110 of its WMS (Workflow Management Suite). This means cumulative sales of WMS software systems is closing in on 900 enterprise implementations.

This news is certainly enlightening given the rate at which the software market changes on a regular basis. Consolidation is certainly prevalent in this market, and a company like BuilderMT continues to show strength despite down market conditions. It is among the reasons BuilderMT consistently makes the Constructech 50, a list of the most influential technology providers in construction. Look to the July/Aug issue where the 2012 list will be announced.

As the housing market continues to make its recovery, look for software providers to position themselves to help builders rebound their business. Those looking for a strong partner to help guide their technology strategy forward have some good options at their disposal.