Home prices increased during the second quarter of the year, according to the latest Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index.
Before you celebrate, you should know that prices are actually down 5.9 percent when compared to the second quarter of last year and are as low as they were in 2003. You should also know that the 3.6 percent increase in prices experienced in the second quarter follows a decline of 4.1 percent in the first three months of the year. So you could view the second quarter as more of a comeback from a terrible first quarter than a real sign of improvement in the housing market.
That said, you still have reason to celebrate. Lately, we've been bombarded with discouraging news for the housing market and the economy, so any glimpse of hope -- or the mere lack of bad news -- can be viewed as positive. The fact that home prices didn't drop further in the second quarter should cheer up those who are monitoring the market.
More lack of bad news: None of the 20 markets included in the report posted new lows in June's report.
"This month's report showed mixed signals for recovery in home prices. No cities made new lows in June 2011, and the majority of cities are seeing improved annual rates," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the S&P 500 Index Committee. "Looking across the cities, eight bottomed in 2009 and have remained above their lows." Those include San Diego, San Francisco, Dallas Denver and Washington, D.C.
The weakest markets include Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, Tampa and Detroit, according to the report.
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