May 29 - U.S. home prices crept higher in March but a full-fledged recovery is still absent, according to Yale professor Robert Shiller, co-founder of the S&P/Case-Shiller index. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Mother Nature is smiling on house hunters with nice weather, but her good graces are doing little to grow a recovery in home prices. The first quarter ended with prices at post-crisis lows, despite two months of seasonally adjusted gains, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index for March. Yale Professor Robert Shiller, co-founder of the index, is not ready to call a rebound. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT SHILLER, CO-FOUNDER S&P CASE SHILLER INDEX AND YALE PROFESSOR (ENGLISH): "There are signs it might be turning but you know forecasting the market involves so many variables including what is Congress going to do, what are they going to do with Fannie (Mae) and Freddie (Mac) supporting almost all of our mortgages? What's going to happen to the deficit? What's going to happen to Europe? There's a lot of clouds on the horizon, so I just don't see any reason to call a turning point in the housing market at this time." That said, year-over-year price declines are slowing, and for some cities the news is even more encouraging: Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix saw March price gains compared to the year before. But according to the report - more American neighborhoods need to see prices bounce-back before a housing turnaround is firmly in place. Conway Gittens, Reuters