Housing

The Housing Market Has Stopped Getting Worse. For Now.

Case Shiller Home Price Index Through June, 2011
Alyson Hurt/NPR

The housing market is stabilizing, at least for the moment.

Home prices were basically flat between May and June, according to the latest Case-Shiller numbers. (Prices rose by 1.1 percent if you look at the raw data, graphed above, and fell by 0.1 percent after adjusting for seasonal factors.)

Also in the could-be-worse bucket: Prices rose between May and June in 19 of the 20 metro areas tracked by the index (prices were unchanged in Portland).

But still.

These gains largely reflect the fact that home prices tend to rise in the spring.

Prices are still well below where they were a year ago. There's still a glut of homes for sale. Millions more foreclosures are likely in the next few years. And, of course, the unemployment rate is still over 9 percent.

Cut to Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics:

...sales have slipped back again in recent months so we expect to see prices dipping again by the fall of this year. A renewed plunge in prices seems unlikely, however, with price-to-income ratios so low, mortgages rates falling and the labor market in better shape than a year ago. Still, we doubt home prices have hit their final bottom level just yet.

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