A 'sold' sign stands outside a home in Pasadena, Calif.
A 'sold' sign stands outside a home in Pasadena, Calif. - 
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Steve Chiotakis: The firm Realty Trac says the number of home foreclosures fell 8 percent in November. And that makes it four months in a row. But foreclosures aren't the only indicators of how the housing market's doing, as Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports.

Alisa Roth: It's not just Realty Trac. Real estate sites Zillow and Trulia say homes are holding their value better than they did last year.

Alan Gin is an economics professor at the University of San Diego, and he says these are all signs the market is finally settling down.

Alan Gin: We are seeing some firming in terms of the housing market. Prices are edging up in some metropolitan areas, for example here in San Diego.

He says people are buying homes again because interest rates are low and the prices are cheap. And people are trying to take advantage of the tax credit for first-time buyers. That tax credit was just extended until next spring.

Heather Fernandez is with the Web site Trulia. She says the extension could send a lot more inventory onto the market.

Heather Fernandez: As existing homeowners and as banks holding foreclosures want to take advantage of this tax credit and the incentive that buyers have to jump in the market.

But she worries about what'll happen when the tax credit expires. And she says there could be a new wave of foreclosures -- among prime borrowers this time.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.