Hopeful Glimmers in the Housing Slump

Sure, prices fell. But look at the big picture: The market is adjusting to reality and some of the news is better than expected

If you're a homeowner, the recent movement of home prices is as sickening to watch as a mountaineer falling off a cliff. As recently as a year ago, prices of existing homes were rising an amazing 15% a year. But the rate of increase has been going down, down, down. In August, the year-over-year change went below zero for the first time since 1995. The National Association of Realtors announced Sept. 25 that the median price nationally in August, 2006, was $225,000, 1.7% lower than in August, 2005.

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