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Some regions show stronger home sales than others

Steve Chiotakis Dec 27, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: The S&P Case-Schiller Index is out today, and it shows home prices in October fell in 19 out of 20 major cities. It’s the second drop in a row, and a sign the housing crisis continues in one form or another. How have cities in the West been faring given how hard they were hit in the last few years?

Paul Habibi is a lecturer on faculty at UCLA. He’s with us now from Los Angeles. Good morning, sir.

Paul Habibi: Good morning.

Chiotakis: I know states like California, Nevada, were hammered during the housing crisis, that some argue is still going on, obviously. Housing prices drop — does that mean homes are more affordable — people can get in them? Or does that mean that people are just taking a licking right now?

Habibi: Absolutely, home prices are more affordable. And certainly people who are well positioned and have the ability to purchase a home, now is a pretty good time to do it. However, if you look at the overall picture, in many of the at least coastal markets, the cost to rent a house is still significantly less than the cost to own that same house.

But then, you know, the other way to look at it is really not dividing the West coast versus the East coast, versus the Midwest so to speak — but also looking at the West coast as having its coastal real estate as well as its interior real estate. And certainly, the coastal real estate has been more resilient and seems to be faring much better.

Chiotakis: Any other signs, do you think, in the housing market that perhaps it’s picking up?

Habibi: Well, I think the little bit of good news we have is that delinquencies are falling. But I think frankly, it’s going to be a very tumultuous but stable market, kind of sitting at the bottom for several months on end until we see actually some really good economic news that’s going to bring us up.

Chiotakis: Paul Habibi, on the faculty over at UCLA. Paul thanks.

Habibi: My pleasure.

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