House Prices Rise, But Buyers Vanish

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At first blush, new numbers from the Standard and Poors Case-Shiller Home Price Index provide a relatively bright spot in what's been a bleak year for the housing industry.

Home prices increased in 17 of the 20 cities the index tracks, including in Cleveland, leading hopeful sellers to set sights on potentially larger profits.

But, S&P index chair David Blitzer says that while the numbers ARE upbeat... "other, more recent data on home sales and mortgages points to fewer gains ahead."

That means while house prices are increasing, the real question remains whether anyone is buying, or is preparing to buy.

Reports last week indicated that home sales plummeted in July to numbers lower than any in the past decade, with Northeast Ohio sales of new and existing homes falling 35.5 percent from June to July. That's down more than 21 percent from July 2009. Condominium sales were worse, falling by nearly 46% from June.

Analysts also say numbers in the beginning of the summer were skewed by the federal tax-credit offer, available to people who purchased by April 30 and closed or will close their deals before October 1.

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