ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN BIRMINGHAM AL – 10/19/2011
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Home prices in July climbed for the fourth month in a row, but are still down from a year ago. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index of 120 major cities, prices rose 0.9% in July compared with June, but they’re still 4.1% lower than 12 months ago. “We are far from a sustained recovery” said S&P spokesman David Blitzer. “Continued increases in home prices through the end of the year . . . must materialize before we can confirm a housing market recovery,”
Adjusted for seasonal differences, the 20-city index was flat month-over-month. But a handful of cities have shown surprising strength recently. In Detroit for example, prices jumped 3.8% month-over-month, after spiking 5.8% in June. Minneapolis prices increased 2.6% and Washington recorded a 2.4% rise. Blitzer cited some positive signs for the struggling housing market. Existing home sales were up 20% in August compared with 12 months earlier. Foreclosures have dropped most of the year.
On the negative side, however, housing starts are near historic lows and consumer confidence remains depressed. “These combined statistics indicate the market is still bottoming and has not turned around,” he said. Stan Humphries, chief economist for the real estate website Zillow, is not optimistic about the outlook for housing.
“I still believe that the continued fears about a Greek default, weak employment growth and low consumer confidence will ultimately translate into weaker housing performance in the back half of this year,” he said. “Looking ahead, expect fading monthly momentum in Case-Shiller.” Complicating things is that a quarter of homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, owing more than their homes are worth, making it difficult to refinance into low interest mortgages