America’s housing market should continue to improve this year, although its recovery could be derailed by policy makers, lending standards and market forces.

That was the opinion of economists who spoke Jan. 22 at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

"Nearly every measure of housing market strength — sales, starts, prices, permits and builder confidence — has been trending upward in recent months and we expect to see gradual but steady growth along these lines in 2013," said David Crowe, the National Association of Home Builders chief economist.

Overall housing prices have risen 6 percent in the past 10 months, which has stoked demand, Crowe said. Mortgage rates remain low.

"People feel comfortable if they buy a house that it will appreciate, not depreciate, in value,” he said.

However, partisan politics in Washington, as well as tight mortgage lending standards, low appraisals and a dearth of suitable building lots threaten the housing recovery, Crowe added.