Initial economic growth estimates for the first quarter hit 2.2%, slower than the fourth quarter of 2011, but still improved from three of the past four quarters, Freddie Mac said in its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook.

Optimism also spread through the market due to a rise in new housing construction and remodeling initiatives. Personal consumption also grew at a 15.3% annual rate as more Americans spent on kitchen appliances and consumer durables, Freddie Mac said.

"Taken together, the first-quarter data releases provide an encouraging sign for both the macroeconomy and the housing recovery," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac. "While not uniformly positive, for the most part, the data trend in the right direction."

Nothaft also pointed out that home prices are now at or near the trough in many housing markets and delinquency rates are beginning to decline.

Another incentive for homebuyers comes in the form of record low interest rates, which offer purchasers a chance to jump into the market at rates not experienced in 60 years.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com