While the kitchen is typically the most popular place during a party, the fun moves outside on the 4th of July. That's where the grill is, and the traditional parade, concert, and grand fireworks display over Lake Washington. As fireworks go off to honor our great country, I'm also celebrating recent statistics that show Americans are gaining more confidence in the housing market. Sales of new and previously occupied homes are up from the same time last year; home prices are rising in most markets; and homebuilders are starting more projects. This good news lifts my patriotic spirit, and hopefully yours too!