HOME SALES RISE: Sales of previously occupied homes in the U.S. rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million in July, a 2.3 percent increase from the previous month's rate.

STEADY GAINS: The housing market is slowly but steadily recovering. Sales were up 10.4 percent from a year ago. And prices rose 9.4 percent in the past 12 months, the best gain in five and a half years. Other recent reports also paint a picture of a steady rebound.

LONG RECOVERY: Housing is a long way from recovered. Sales remain well below the 5.5 million annual sales pace that is considered healthy.