Home Prices Tumble, Consumers Shaken

As housing prices slide across the country, consumer confidence takes a hit

The latest data on home prices show that the downturn in the housing market is getting worse, rather than better, raising questions about consumers' ability to keep propping up the economy. American consumers have taken a hit not just from falling home prices, but also rising energy prices and a wobbly stock market. "The big concern is the whole wealth issue," says Stephen Gallagher, chief U. S. economist at Societe Generale (SG). "The sense of wealth is very important, not just the actual wealth itself."

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