By Jenn Bernstein

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Newly released numbers by the Commerce Department show the housing market appears to be improving. New home sales increased 3.6 % percent in July; that’s 25% more than this time last year.

Bill Mullray owns Mullray Builders Corporation, and he says it’s a good sign for his industry after several years of weathering this recession.

“We’ve definitely seen some improvement,” Mullray says. “We’re starting to see a glimmer of hope, and we hope this train keeps moving.”

It’s a change that excavator Justin Keenan has also experienced. “I’ve seen more calls from builders this year. Before we were just plugging along doing general excavating jobs, less for builders, more just for residential,” says Keenan.

There was more optimism earlier this week, when Toll Brothers reported a sharp increase in its third quarter earnings. Numbers also show existing home sales are improving. Statistics released this week by the National Association of Realtors showed existing home sales increased by two percent this July, up 10% from last year.

Realtor Dan Borowiec says existing home sales are more frequent than new home sales in Downingtown, but, he says, both are improving. “If you go further west in Chester County to the Coatesville school district, that is not seeing the same increase in sales as you’d be finding from Downingtown going east towards King of Prussia,” says Borowiec.

Borowiec believes the housing market recovery will happen sooner closer to the city, near the employment market. He says that it has everything to do with inventory and depressed prices.

“They don’t have to go as far west and commute as long to find affordable prices,” Borowiec explains. “Once the inventory in these areas becomes absorbed and prices start to go up again, then they will start to go further west.”

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