Home prices fall for 6th straight month
This is the most closely watched index of home prices and it has no good news in the numbers.
A key measure of home prices in the nation's biggest cities fell in February, indicating that the housing market remained weak at the start of the year.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 American cities dropped 0.8% from January to February, and 3.5% from February 2011. Sixteen cities tracked by the index posted declines. Nine cities saw average home prices hit new lows.
"Broadly-speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early months of the year," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices.
Los Angeles fell 0.8% from the prior month, while San Francisco was down 0.7%. San Diego was slightly positive, up 0.2% from January.
We are caught in something of a vicious circle; home prices won't recover until employment comes back. But employment won't come back as long as the housing market remains weak. The market is still trying to find its bottom, as evidenced by nearly half the cities surveyed reaching new lows.
Government policies aren't helping matters, artificially trying to prop up prices when the quickest way to recovery is to allow the market to wring out the excess stock. Yes, more people will lose their homes, but 95% of homeowners would benefit by the "creative destruction" caused by letting the market determine winners and losers, not government.