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Clear Capital: Gloomy Skies Ahead for Home Prices

""Clear Capital"":http://www.clearcapital.com/ joins a list of firms and trade groups whose batch of surveys and reports dished on consumer confidence, market health, and job growth this week. On Thursday the data solutions provider released a monthly ""Home Data Index Market Report"":http://clearcapital.com/company/MarketReport.cfm?month=September&year=2011 that forecasted a glacial period for home prices despite a 4.0-percent uptick over the second quarter.

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The index, beginning with ""Summer's Last Stand"" for a title, found home prices in the Midwest on a rebound, with prices in the Northeast, South, and West in hot pursuit. Despite quarterly strides for each of these regions, the index forecasted an end to a sunny summer for home prices by underscoring the winter season that fast approaches.

""Though quarter-over-quarter gains continue across the nation's four regions, the rate of growth has begun to slow as the summer buying season comes to an end and economic confidence shows signs of weakening,"" Clear Capital said in the index.

""[I]t's important to keep in mind that these gains are off of the record lows of winter,"" Alex Villacorta, research and analytics director with Clear Capital, said in a ""statement"":http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44435282.

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""With summer coming to a close and the price gains clearly starting to level off, the market is at a critical juncture as to whether it can avoid another significant downturn into the slower buying seasons of fall and winter,"" he said.

He added that the ""latest readings on consumer confidence paint an ominous picture that at present, consumers are still not ready to risk jumping into the market despite very low mortgage rates and very affordable home prices.""

Regionally, home prices in the Midwest staved off the confidence-diminishing effects of economic malaise, with gains hitting a 7.3-percent stride.

Home prices went up in the Northeast and South to the tune of 4.9 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, while the West trailed behind with only a 0.7-percent notch up in prices.

The Clear Capital report follows a ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/ study that ""found"":https://themreport.com/articles/fannie-finds-rising-pessimism-ahead-of-obama-speech-2011-09-08 27 percent of all Americans believe that home prices will fall lower over the course of 2011.

Before Fannie, a jobs report from the ""Labor Department"":http://www.dol.gov/ ""bore witness"":https://themreport.com/articles/housing-industries-freeze-alongside-zero-job-growth-2011-09-02 to an eclipse of job gains by job losses.

Reflecting still-weak consumer confidence, mortgage rates ""reported"":https://themreport.com/articles/plummeting-mortgage-rates-set-new-records-2011-09-08 Thursday by ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ and ""Bankrate.com"":http://www.bankrate.com/ broke records by slamming into new lows.

Clear Capital rounded out the index by forecasting times grim as winter for the near future of the housing market.

The firm attributed a softening in prices to ""pressure from a volatile stock market, high unemployment rates, elevated home sales inventory and slow home sales rates,"" connecting all the dots with these factors to portray ""a potentially challenging fall and winter housing market.""

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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