AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) – The Texas economy is predicted to begin a slow, steady recovery in 2010, according to BBVA Compass’ U.S. Regional Watch third-quarter report.

The report predicts a 1.7 percent increase in the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010, following a small contraction in 2009. This will be aided in part by a surge in home sales, according to the bank’s economists.

Home sales across Texas are predicted to increase by 4.5 percent in 2010 after declining by 12 percent by the end of 2009.

Though Texas projected a 9.5 percent deficit at the beginning of the year, it is the only state among the seven Sun Belt states covered by BBVA Compass to forecast a balanced budget in 2010.

The report also said that Texas will benefit the most from funding through the federal government stimulus program, considering the amount of money to be received by the state equates to its entire 2009 budget shortfall.

For more on the Texas economy, check out the Real Estate Center’s monthly economic reviews.