Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Triple Dip?

Home prices are falling again, says the latest rendition of the Case-Shiller home price index. National home prices fell 2.5% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2009, the group claims. Both the 10-city and 20-city indexes dropped 0.2% from the previous month.

That puts the average home price down 29% from its 2006 peak, back to prices typical of summer 2003. Ouch.

“This isn’t a forecast, but it’s a worry,” Robert Shiller, founder of the index, told unwilling ears on CNBC, “that home prices might drop substantially from here foreword, once this [government] support is taken away… Mortgage rates will go up, the economy might double dip, the expectations for housing -- which helped drive the markets -- might change suddenly when people see the support being withdrawn. Some people were buying because of the homebuyer tax credit. When that’s withdrawn, a lot of people will be absent the market. There is substantial downward risk right now.

“But on the other side,” he added, unable to control laughter sprung from true insanity of it all, “we’ve seen a bubbly nature in the market recently. So I think just uncertainty is at a maximum right now.” Agora Financial

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