Thursday, July 30, 2009

Housing Market Shows Some Signs Of Recovery

This week NPR posted an article with good news for the housing market. According to new studies home prices in cities like Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas were on the rise last month. Although in some parts of the country housing prices are stagnant or still on the decline, any increases in home values anywhere is a good sign. Yale University professor Robert Shiller even stated that "this is the first time in almost three years that we've seen price increases,"

What do Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Minneapolis and San Francisco have in common? They're cities where home prices rose recently.

That's according to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which shows that prices are actually starting to rise again in some parts of the country.

Other recent data show that there are some tentative signs that the real estate market may be starting to recover. The housing crisis helped propel the country into the worst recession in decades.

"This is the first time in almost three years that we've seen price increases," says Yale University professor Robert Shiller, who helped design the home price index. "So when we see a break in the downward trend that's definitely encouraging news."

For a long time Shiller was known as a pessimist about the housing market. And it turned out he was absolutely right.

But now, he's striking a different tone.

"Well, I think the worst is probably behind us — the worst pace of decline," he says. "We were going down at 2 percent a month for a number of months in a row nationally. That was really something. Now home prices relative to rents or construction costs are back at normal levels."

Shiller stresses that he doesn't think we're about to see another housing boom.

During this downturn, we've seen record drops in prices. And when it comes to new homes — it's been more than 50 years since we were building and selling so few of them.

But over the course of the spring, sales have been picking up.

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