Industry Insiders Weigh in on Case-Shiller Uptick

In what Standard & Poor’s analysts described as a “welcome shift from recent months,” the closely watched S&P/Case-Shiller index showed its strongest positive movement since June of last year with the release of Tuesday’s report.

The 20-city composite reading posted a 0.7 percent increase in April versus March. The 10-city composite was up 0.8 percent. (Both figures reflect non-seasonally adjusted measurements, which S&P says is the more reliable indicator when evaluating its index results given current market conditions.)

After steep declines from 2007 to 2009, home prices have been bouncing around the bottom for two years since and “the market still has the look of stuck in the doldrums,” Robert Shiller, chief economist for MarcoMarkets and namesake of the Case-Shiller index told Bloomberg Television.

But Shiller says he sees a “little bit of optimism” in the latest index results. He says the housing market is characterized by momentum and while further declines are likely in the cards, subsequent months’ data could present at least a short-range upward trend.

Commenting on the latest numbers, Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac SVP, said, “[Tuesday’s] Case-Shiller report is the first positive pricing news we’ve seen in quite some time, but not a signal that the housing market is on the road to recovery.”

Sharga says the small uptick in home prices recorded in April may have been due to seasonality, a slowing of distressed property sales because of ongoing paperwork issues, or even a change in the mix of the types of properties sold during the month.

“[I]ndications remain that while home prices may be beginning to stabilize, there’s still a good chance that we’ll see more price depreciation before we bottom out later this year,” Sharga said…

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