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What lower home prices can tell us

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Steve Chiotakis: The real estate valuation company Clear Capital has released a report. It finds home prices nationwide are softening heading into the traditionally slow winter season. As Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson reports, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


Jeremy Hobson: The report says on average, home prices are down more than 8 percent from this time last year.

Alex Villacorta is senior statistician at Clear Capital. He says the good news is, the period of huge swings in home prices appears to be ending.

ALEX VILLACORTA: The high gains that we saw during the summer are now coming down a little bit, showing more traditional ebb and flow of seasonal cycles — something that we haven’t seen since the downturn began more than two years ago.

He says that could mean an L-shaped recovery in the housing market. So 30 percent below the peak may be the new normal.

I asked housing expert Andrew Jacoboviks at the Center for American Progress if this means the housing crisis is ending.

ANDREW JACOBOVIKS: The answer to that question, I think, is much more of a function of the broader economy and job growth as opposed to having so-called toxic mortgages still on the books that have yet to make their way through the system.

And we’ll get an idea of how well we’re doing on the labor front when the big October jobs report comes out tomorrow.

In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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