All the numbers have yet to be reported but, according to Realtor.com’s chief economist Jonathan Smoke, 2015 was a year of growth and improvement for the housing market. New and existing home sales both rose, with gains seen among first-time and repeat buyers, as well as buyers who were relocating and/or changing jobs. Home prices also increased, helping homeowners see significant gains in equity. However, despite the fact that prices rose and demand was strong – which would normally lead to a boom in housing construction – most of the gains in residential construction were found among apartment buildings rather than single-family homes. With a lower-than-normal number of homes for sale putting upward pressure on prices, affordability was increasingly a concern for home buyers. Buyers, however, were helped by continued improvement in the job market and mortgage rates still hovering near historic lows, which boosted consumer confidence even as prices neared pre-crash levels in some markets. All in all, Smoke says the housing market is definitely stronger than it was a year ago but offers a few suggestions for further growth. “We need new construction to keep up with the household formations driven by demographics and healthy job creation,” Smoke writes in an article posted to realtor.com. “We need more affordable housing to decrease the impact of burdensome rents. And we need expanded, risk-appropriate access to credit to help households that can afford to buy.” More here.