Home Prices: Still Nothing Doing : Planet Money Home prices are bumping along the bottom — and they're likely to stay there for a while.

Home Prices: Still Nothing Doing

Case-shiller 20-city composite, not seasonally adjusted

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Alyson Hurt/NPR

Home prices crept up between July and August, according to the latest Case-Shiller numbers. But home prices usually creep up over the summer. And once you adjust for that fact, home prices were flat.

So, big picture, prices are basically bumping along the bottom.

Houses are pretty cheap and mortgage rates are super low. But it's hard to qualify for a mortgage, and plenty of people who can qualify are afraid to buy, Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics writes this morning:

Valuations are now very attractive in terms of household incomes, especially with mortgage rates so low, but low rates mean nothing if potential borrowers can't qualify for them or if they are so scared of future price declines that they choose not to buy property. We remain of the view that a real recovery requires a much stronger labor market; next year maybe?

Maybe. But even if the job market picks up next year, there's still likely to be a backlog of more than a million foreclosed homes coming onto the market, putting downward pressure on prices.