Report Shows Home Prices Remained Steady

3 03 2007

The rate of increase in U.S. home prices remained steady in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Average home prices rose 1.12 percent in the quarter – still faster than the prices of other goods and services, the report noted.

“These data show that, on the whole, (home) prices are still rising, albeit at a much slower pace,” OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart said in a statement. “This suggests that house-price appreciation is, for now, more in line with historical norms.”

The fourth-quarter figure is derived from an average of home prices in October, November and December.

Source: Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight at

Florida Housing Market Indicators – Feb. ’07

3 03 2007

Florida existing home sales: -27%

Florida existing condo sales: -30%

Florida existing home median price: $239,300

Florida existing condo median price: $209,000

Florida consumer confidence: 91

National existing home sales: +3.0%

National existing home median price: $210,600

National (Freddie Mac) mortgage rate: 6.22%

Source: Florida Association of Realtors®

Greenspan: U.S. Recession Not Probable

3 03 2007

Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a Tokyo seminar on Thursday that he does not think an economic slowdown in his country is “probable,” toning down his earlier warning over a recession later this year.

“It is possible we can get a U.S. recession toward the end of this year, but I don’t think it’s probable,” Dow Jones Newswires quoted Greenspan as saying in his speech at a Tokyo forum organized by international brokerage CLSA.

On Monday, Greenspan said a recession was possible, though it’s difficult to predict the timing, a comment blamed in part for the global market decline this week.

A plunge in Chinese share prices Tuesday and weaker-than-expected U.S. durable goods orders for January were also seen as contributing to the world share market slump.

Speaking via satellite to investors at CLSA’s Japan Forum, Greenspan on Thursday appeared to want to hedge his bets on his prediction of the U.S. economy.

“Things look reasonably good in the short run for the U.S. and the world,” he said. But “we can’t just assume that this extraordinary period of recovery can extend indefinitely.”

Greenspan also said Thursday that the U.S. has “gone through the major part of adjustment” in housing prices and “the worst is over,” though the housing market is expected to remain weak, Dow Jones reported, citing information provided by CLSA.

He said the weak U.S. housing market has had only limited impact on consumer spending because consumers have been encouraged by the fall in gasoline prices.

Greenspan reiterated that it’s in China’s interest to allow the yuan’s exchange rate to be set by the market. But he said a decision to allow the market to set the yuan’s exchange rate is up to China.

That, however, would do little to improve U.S. trade balance because a decrease in Chinese imports would likely be replaced by those from other developing nations.

Source: The Associated Press

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