A worker studies building plans for surburban homes under construction in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
A worker studies building plans for surburban homes under construction in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. - 
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Today, the latest Case-Shiller Home Price index was released. It looks at housing prices in the 20 biggest metropolitan areas of the country.

And it shows prices continuing to rise across the U.S. -- up four-tenths percent in July, as a matter of fact -- though that is not as high as the nine-tenths economists expected. But it was still the sixth straight month in a row that housing prices increased.  Some economist look at these numbers and say the housing market has turned a corner, and finally bottomed out.

"Real estate is recovering... slowly," says Juli Neimann, an analyst with Smith Moore and Company. "Year over year sales trend is up; prices are rising; inventory is declining." The only catch, she says, is when it comes to foreclosed homes: we don't really know what the banks are hiding.

Consumers are also upbeat: consumer confidence jumped to the highest level since February. The index shows how these numbers -- housing and consumer confidence -- are all connected.  As far as consumers go, if the value of their house goes up, they feel richer, and more confident.

There are a number of factors at play here, according to Gus Faucher, the senior economist at PNC Financial Services. "We are adding jobs so the job market is picking up," Faucher says. "Stock markets are up -- that's a big source of consumer confidence.  And we're starting to see house prices turn around as well."


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