Home prices rise for fourth month in May: S&P

NEW YORK Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:01am EDT

A house for sale is pictured in Alexandria, Virginia in this March 22, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Molly Riley/Files

A house for sale is pictured in Alexandria, Virginia in this March 22, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Molly Riley/Files

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Single-family home prices rose for the fourth month in a row in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, suggesting the recovery in the housing market continued to gain traction, a closely watched survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 0.9 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping economists' expectations for a 0.5 percent gain.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices fared even better, jumping 2.2 percent.

"With May's data, we saw a continuing trend of rising home prices for the spring," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's, said in a statement.

Still, Blitzer cautioned that spring and summer are traditionally strong buying months and that gains need to continue into the rest of the year.

"The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait-and-see mode for the next few months."

The rate of decline on a yearly basis moderated, with prices down 0.7 percent compared to a 1.9 percent drop in April.

(Reporting By Leah Schnurr; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

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Comments (1)
Housing prices may not matter if a new pandemic that has spread to some mammals makes us too sick to buy, or, worse yet, kills us in large numbers.
BBC — Researchers were puzzled by the mysterious deaths from pneumonia of 162 harbour seals around the coast of New England last year.
Autopsies on five of the marine mammals indicate that they died from a type of H3N8 influenza A virus that is closely related to a strain circulating in North American birds since 2002.
One of authors of the research paper is Prof Ian Lipkin, from Columbia University in the US. He is a celebrated virus hunter who in the past has helped identify West Nile virus and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). He told the BBC that finding this flu virus in seals was an interesting “new jump”.
“It’s something that’s been circulating for a while in birds, but we’ve not had this sort of die off relating to this virus in the past. As we’ve looked at it in some detail, we’ve found there have been mutations in this virus which enable it to bind to both bird receptors for flu as well as mammalian receptors for flu.”
Cause for concern
As well as mutating to live in both animals and birds the scientists say this flu has evolved to make it more likely to cause severe symptoms. The virus also has the ability to target a protein found in the human respiratory tract.
Dr Anne Moscona of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City edited the report and says that the new virus is a worry.
“There is a concern that we have a new mammalian-transmissible virus to which humans haven’t yet been exposed. It’s a combination we haven’t seen in disease before.”

Jul 31, 2012 11:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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