Home prices climbing in half of U.S., but not in Portland

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The Latest
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Home prices climbed in August in half of major U.S. cities, a sign that prices are beginning to stabilize. However, prices remained stagnant in Portland.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index showed Tuesday that prices increased in August from July in 10 of the 20 cities tracked, including Portland.
But Portland's 0.1 percent gain from July to August disappears after adjusting for seasonal factors. Instead, it turns into a 0.1 percent decline. Local home prices remained 7.6 percent below the previous year.
The August data provides a "modest glimmer of hope" that some areas may have bottomed out and could be turning around, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee. He noted that cities in the Midwest — Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis — have shown some strength since May.
It's the fifth straight month that at least half of the cities in the survey showed monthly gains.
"We certainly believe the bulk of the decline in housing is behind us and indeed, one might even say that 'housing' is more likely to improve from here," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist for BTIG. "But given the overwhelming level of inventory that remains on the market ... further price declines seem almost assured to help clear the market."

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