Home prices rose in May, Case-Shiller shows
Standard & Poor's widely watched 20-city Case-Shiller home
price index posted a small gain between April and May, a bit of
good news for a residential real estate market that has been torpid
in the wake of the homebuyer tax credit's expiration.
The 20-city index rose 1.3 percent sequentially. It's been posting incremental gains for several months, although past months saw it only become less negative. Now, it appears, price increases are occurring once more - but S&P index committee chairman David Blitzer was quick to caution that the index does not hint at a sustained recovery.
"Since reaching its recent trough in April 2009, the housing market has really only stabilized at this lower level," he said. "The last seven months have basically been flat."
While markets responded well to the Case-Shiller news - the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher Tuesday - consumer sentiment appears to be turning negative. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index slipped in July as sustained employment gains failed to materialize.
"Concerns about business conditions and the labor market are casting a dark cloud over consumers that is not likely to lift until the job market improves," Conference Board Consumer Research Center director Lynn Franco said.
By Benjamin Foster