As we head toward the end of the year, for some reason the drumbeat to claim that housing has bottomed is growing louder.
There were a few positive indicators in September, rising housing starts and rising home sales, that gave some analysts fodder for optimism, but the readings on prices are far less rosy, and alas far more complicated.
Two reports out today show home prices are falling again after seeing some gains in the Spring and Summer. Lender Processing Servicessays they're down 3.7 percent annually in September, erasing the gains of the Spring, and they say all of the 13,500 zip codes it tracks are in the negative.
Meanwhile CoreLogic says prices fell 3.9 percent in October, but when you take out foreclosures and short sales (the latter when the home is sold for less than the value of the mortgage), home prices are down just 0.5 percent annually. The vaunted S&P/Case-Shiller home price index was down 3.9 percent in September, and that's a three month running average including distressed and non-distressed property sales.
So why are analysts now predicting a house price recovery?