September 28, 2010
Home Prices Post July Rise (WSJ)
Nathan Becker and Kathleen Madigan
home prices rose again in July, according to the S&P Case-Shiller
home-price indexes, though growth continued to slow as the boost from a
government tax credit continued to wane.
Separately, U.S. consumer confidence fell sharply in September, as
consumers see no improvement in the labor markets, according to a report
Home prices began rising in April, boosted by the expiration of the
first-time home-buyer tax credit that had new homeowners flocking to buy
homes. Before that, they had fallen sequentially for six straight
Home buyers and sellers have been stuck in a stalemate for months
now, with sellers reluctant to lower prices and buyers remaining on the
the housing sector faces challenges, with unemployment remaining high
and the tax credit's benefits wearing off. S&P warned last month
that home-price returns could slow down, noting that housing and
mortgage data pointed to fewer gains in the future.
Compared with a year earlier, unadjusted July prices rose 4.1% for
the index of 10 metro areas, while the 20-city index climbed 3.2%. The
Case-Shiller index of 10 major metropolitan areas rose 0.8% from June,
while the 20-city index climbed 0.6%.
David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index
committee, said that going forward, prices could "still see some
residual support" from the home-buyer tax credit, which covers purchases
made before the credit's expiration that close no later than Thursday.
But "judging from the recent behavior of the housing market, stable
prices seem more likely."
Month-to-month gainers were headlined by Detroit -- a city that has
been walloped by the recession -- which saw a 1.6% gain, as well as New
York, which saw a 1.3% rise. Las Vegas again led decliners, posting a