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Home prices up for first time since 2010

News that the S&P/Case Shiller home price index is up from last year may be the first solid sign of a long-awaited housing market recovery.

Kai Ryssdal: I'd have to go back to the archives and check to be sure, but it's been years -- easy -- since I've been able to say the following sentence. Ready? There was a bit of rare unadulteratedly good economic news today.

Home prices are going up, and it's happening in all 20 of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country: Atlanta, Chicago, even Las Vegas -- all have seen median home prices rise.

We know this because the S&P Case-Shiller Index told us so this morning. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Take Atlanta -- it’s been a real estate disaster area. It’s faced a flood of foreclosures -- from starter homes to million-dollar mansions -- driving prices ever lower.

Now, they’re rising: up 4.5 percent from winter to spring.

Atlanta realtor Justin Ziegler was holding an open house today in the upscale Virginia Highlands neighborhood.

Justin Ziegler: This house, it’s completely restored; five bedrooms, home theatre, carriage house.

Asking price: $1.5 million. By mid-day, about 10 buyers’ agents had already stopped by.

Ziegler: For a rainy Tuesday afternoon, I’m not dissatisfied with that at all.

And Ziegler says, move down to homes in the $100,000-$200,000 range, and realtors are getting multiple offers near the asking price. He says many think it’s finally the right time to buy a first home, or move up.

Ziegler: First off, the interest rates are phenomenal. And rental rates for apartments have been the highest they’ve been in about six years.

David Blitzer at Standard and Poor’s says Atlanta mirrors the other drowning real estate markets in the country that are now swimming again.

David Blitzer: The Sun Belt, where all the disasters were -- Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami, Tampa -- all four of those cities seem to have turned around.

I asked Blitzer how soon rising prices might restore the housing market to pre-recession levels. 

Blitzer: Will we be back to the peak in your lifetime? I want to know how old you are before I answer the question.

Hartman: Well, I’m 50.

Blitzer: You may make it, don’t worry.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.
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Does this mean the Fed can raise interest rates again, and I can make money on savings accounts and CD's again? That'll kick a couple million adjustable-rate mortgages back into foreclosure. The Fed is basically enabling subprime mortgage debt by keeping interest rates near zero, so there's still a lot of "hidden trouble" in the housing market.

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