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A spec home is offered for sale in a housing development in Volo, Ill. The latest economic forecast from federal policymakers indicates the worst may be over for the long depressed housing market. - 

Jeremy Hobson: Later this morning, we'll get a fresh look at the state of the housing market.

Home prices have been heading higher in recent months -- and forecasters expect that to continue. Marketplace's Mark Garrison reports.

Mark Garrison: The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index is an average of 20 American cities. Rosemary Scanlon is Dean of NYU's Schack Institute of Real Estate. She says the Index gives an important national snapshot, but not the full picture.

Rosemary Scanlon: Regional numbers are extremely different and important to look at.

To give you a taste of just how different, recent yearly data show Phoenix shot up 11.5%, while Atlanta dropped 14-and-a-half percent.

All real estate may be local, but getting the loan to buy a home may not be. Andrew Jakabovics is with the affordable housing non-profit Enterprise Community Partners.

Andrew Jakabovics: Particularly now that we're seeing consolidation among the biggest banks that are doing the mortgage lending, there isn't really much indication that credit flows differently in different markets.

So no matter what's going on with housing in your area, you'll still need stellar credentials to get a loan.

Follow Mark Garrison at @GarrisonMark