A recent report from Fitch Ratings forecasts continued gains for the housing market through the end of the year. According to the report, modest growth in the economy, combined with fewer distressed sales and higher rental costs, will lead to continued improvement in both housing starts and home sales. Fitch predicts housing starts will end the year up 19 percent, new home sales will increase 19.5 percent, and existing-home sales will post a 8.5 percent gain. They also expect home prices to continue to increase with additional gains in 2013. Despite their optimistic outlook, they caution that, though recent data suggests the housing recovery has taken hold, there are still a number of looming challenges that could threaten the progress and curb current forecasts. More here.

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