HOUSING UPDATE….Standard & Poors reported today that “annual declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the United States continued to worsen in April 2008.”

Oddly, though, there might be a ray of hope in the actual numbers. The chart on the right shows the monthly percentage changes in the Case-Shiller 20-city index, and recent months have followed the usual seasonal pattern of bottoming out in winter and then picking up steam in spring and summer. However, that seasonal pattern is unusually pronounced this year, and it looks as if the sharp drop of early 2008 is being followed by an equally sharp recovery. Prices are still going down, but it’s possible that a few months from now they’ll come close to flattening out — in nominal terms, anyway.

Then again, maybe I’m grasping at straws. The mortgage market still sucks, millions of loans are still due to reset over the next two years, prices remain considerably over their historical values, etc. etc. Still, it’s a housing chart with a trend line going up! When was the last time you saw that? Enjoy it while you can.

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