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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

U.S. Housing Prices Remain Weak

NYT:  The private Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index, a closely watched measure of home prices, was up 1 percent compared with April, according to the broadest measure of data tracking 20 cities. Prices rose in 16 of the cities; they fell in Detroit, Las Vegas and Tampa and were unchanged in Phoenix..

The trend in the 20-city composite index, while positive, was attributed to seasonal factors, and analysts were hesitant to read too much into one or two months of data. Demand is typically stronger in the spring, and other factors related to the housing sector point to continued weakness, such as contract cancellations, tightened lending standards and sales of new homes in June...

The data offers more perspective in annual comparisons. The index was actually down in May, by 4.5 percent, when compared to May 2010. Minneapolis, where home prices were up 2.6 percent in May and 0.1 percent in April, had the biggest fall in prices from May last year, with an 11.7 percent drop...

In addition, other variables in the economy cloud the outlook beyond the home-buying season, deflating hopes for a rebound, including a struggling jobs market in which the unemployment rate is at 9.2 percent and consumer confidence is at depressed levels

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