The U.S. housing market is looking a little healthier these days, but it probably will not serve as a vigorous force for economic recovery, as it has in the past.

The housing recovery has been under way since the industry hit its low point in January, when the national psyche was traumatized by the Persian Gulf war. But both housing the economy still look relatively weak, and while they are expected to show a little muscle in the year ahead as the nation continues to climb out of recession, not many heads will be turned in admiration.

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