Home Prices Falling at Faster Rate, New
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 30, 2010
The decline in home prices is accelerating across the
nation, according to a new report, and a record number of foreclosures
is expected to push prices down further through next year.
But a second report released on Tuesday indicated that
consumer confidence in the economy rose in November to the highest
level in five months amid some more hopeful signs.
The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller 20-city home price
index released Tuesday fell 0.7 percent in September from August.
Eighteen of the 20 cities recorded price declines.
Cleveland recorded the biggest drop, 3 percent from a
month earlier. Prices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego,
which had been showing strength this year, also dropped in September
Washington and Las Vegas were the only metro areas to
post gains in monthly prices.
The 20-city index has risen 5.9 percent from its April
2009 bottom. But it remains nearly 28.6 percent below the peak, in
July 2006. And home prices have fallen in 15 of the 20 cities in the
Prices rose in many cities from April through July,
mostly helped by government tax credits that have since expired.
The national quarterly index, which measures home
prices in nine regions of the country, dropped 2 percent in the third
quarter from the previous quarter.
In the other report, the Conference Board said that
its Consumer Confidence Index for November rose to 54.1 points, up
from a revised 49.9 in October. Analysts were expecting 52.0.
November’s reading is the highest since June’s 54.3.
The November reading is the highest since June, when
the index stood at 54.3 just as the economy’s recovery started to lose
momentum. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected 52.0.
It takes a level of 90 to indicate a healthy economy,
which has not been approached since the recession began in December
One component of the index, how Americans feel now
about the economy, rose to 24, up from 23.5. The other gauge, which
measures how American feel about the economy over the next six months,
rose to 74.2, up from 67.5 last month.
“Consumer confidence is now at its highest level in
five months, a welcome sign as we enter the holiday season,” Lynn
Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center,
said in a statement. “Consumers’ assessment of the current state of
the economy and job market, while only slightly better than last
month, suggests the economy is still expanding, albeit slowly.
Hopefully, the improvement in consumers’ mood will continue in the
Others were less optimistic.
“The rise in consumer confidence in November is not
consistent with a sustained acceleration in consumption growth at a
time when income growth is weak, the unemployment rate is high and a
double dip in house prices is under way,” said Paul Dales, United
States economist at Capital Economics.
The consumer confidence index, which measures how
respondents feel about business conditions, the job market and the
economy over the next six months, has recovered fitfully since hitting
a record low of 25.3 in February 2009. Economists watch confidence
closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of
economic activity and is crucial to a strong rebound. The improved
confidence mirrors an increase in spending in November, fueled by
early discounting on holiday goods that lured shoppers into stores.
The Conference Board’s index, based on a random survey
mailed to 5,000 households from Nov. 1 to Nov. 19, showed that worries
about jobs eased, but that concern remained high.
Find this article at: