S&P Case Shiller index posts rise in home prices

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The S&P Case Shiller home price indexes have shown some gains, though still depressed. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The S&P Case Shiller home prices indexes have reported gains, of sorts, in home prices.  The price indexes in February showed a rise in home prices compared with the previous February, showing a modest spike, but the prices were still technically modestly declining.  Though the housing market is not fully recovered, it is believe to be showing signs of improvement.  With home prices still somewhat declining, some people are looking into mortgage loan modification to get out from underwater mortgages.

Case Shiller reports first gain since 2006

According to MarketWatch, the current spike in February home prices in major metropolitan areas was the first month of climbing home prices since December 2006.  Home prices gained 0.6 percent in February compared to February of a year ago.  The bump in home prices is credited for that, as many improvements in real estate these days are, to the homebuyer tax credit. The prices aren’t low enough to buy a home with a small loan, but they are low enough to stimulate some into buying.

But there is also bad news

The bad news is that home prices are actually still declining.  The same study indicated that despite the increase in home prices between February present and past, home prices actually are still declining.  February home prices were actually down 0.9 percent from January. According to CNN Money, the Case Shiller home prices indexes for 18 of the 20 cities tracked experienced monthly declines in home prices, and six were at new lows.

Economic recovery can has no cheeseburger yet

David Blitzer, the chairman for the index committee at S&P said that the data would “point to a risk that home prices could decline further before experiencing any sustained gains.” He also indicated that true recovery of the housing market hadn’t truly begun, though it has shown some modest improvements.  There were recent spikes in home sales, but home sales at depressed prices only mean people are buying lower.  (Granted, as more people buy low, that will start trending prices upward eventually.)

So where are we now?

The S&P Case Shiller index of home prices is about where it was in fall of 2003.  The high point was June of 2006, and since June of 2006, home prices have fallen 32.6 percent.  It may be some time before a full recovery is realized.

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