More economic indicators are pointing towards steady growth in the U.S. One measure of manufacturing in the Midwest jumped at year-end to its highest point since the late 1980’s. Both increased consumer and business spending are cited by economists as positive factors for the coming months.

Home purchase activity also has been rising, notes the National Association of Realtors (NAR). For 2011 NAR forecasts that home sales will go up eight percent. “All the indicator trends are pointing to a gradual housing recovery,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Consumer confidence and spending could rise this year, since Americans will benefit from a drop in Social Security withholding taxes. Workers will see their paychecks grow as a result.

Some homebuyers and owners also will gain from an extension of the tax deduction for private mortgage insurance premiums. A portion of the 2010 tax credits on energy-saving home improvements have been extended into this year, as well.

Best of all, continued low mortgage rates and great house prices are making a home purchase affordable for families now. Households that need to move will find 2011 is full of real estate opportunity.