July 28, 2009

Housing market attempts a slow comeback

Good news for boomer homeowners - while home prices are still relatively low, they aren't slumping.

According to data through May of this year from Standard & Poor's for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the 10-City and 20-City Composites declined 16.8 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively, in May compared to the same month last year.

These values are improvements over April's data, which show annual declines of 18 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively. After 16 consecutive months of record annual declines, beginning in October 2007 and ending in January 2009, the indices have now shown four consecutive months of improvement in annual returns.

"The pace of descent in home price values appears to be slowing," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's in a statement released July 28. "While many indicators are showing signs of life in the U.S. housing market, we should remember that on a year-over-year basis home prices are still down about 17 percent on average across all metro areas, so we likely do have a way to go before we see sustained home price appreciation."

As of May 2009, average home prices across the United States are at similar levels to where they were in the middle of 2003, indicating that the three years of appreciation that occurred from 2003 to 2006 were all given back in the following three years.

An AARP Public Policy Institute Report says Americans age 50 and over represent about 28 percent of all delinquencies and foreclosures.

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