Bargain Hunting, Low Rates Drive First Gain in 3 Years; Double Dip Still Possible

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

Home prices in major U.S. cities registered the first monthly gain in nearly three years, according to a new report that provided fresh evidence that the severe U.S. housing downturn could be easing.

Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index, which tracks home prices in 20 metropolitan areas, rose 0.5% for the three-month period ending in May, compared with the three months ending in April. It marked the index’s first increase after 34 straight months of decline, and came after a variety of housing indicators has shown glimmers of hope for the past several months

Home prices remained down about 17% from a year earlier, according to the index. According to S&P/Case-Schiller’s seasonally adjusted numbers, which it began reporting only earlier this year, prices in May posted a 0.2% decline.

But most Wall Street economists who discussed the survey focused on the April-to-May rise, saying it represents a significant change in direction. Home prices in 15 of the 20 areas in the survey rose or remained stable.

Read Nick Timiraos and Kelley Evans’ full article “Home Prices Rise Across U.S.” in the Wall Street Journal (July 29, 2009).

Also Read:

Recovery Signs in Housing Market Stir Some Hope” in the New York Times (July 28, 2009)

US — Home prices up for 1st time in 3 years

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