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National home prices moving up

(source: The Mortgage Update, courtesy of Paul Barton)

"Home prices nationally have gone up over the past twelve months "for the first time since December 2006," says the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Consumers most likely will find that a house they're thinking about buying today costs more in 2011.

Real estate prices are responding to America's economic recovery, experts say. Mortgage rates in May also reached their lowest point for the year, states mortgage investment firm Freddie Mac.

Home sales increased by almost five percent last year, and are forecast to go up 4.3 percent in 2010, says the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Property values should rise. 2.5 percent in 2010 and 3.7 percent next year, NAR adds.

But the combination of a stronger economy and increased government spending is likely to cause interest rates to rise. Long-term mortgage rates could move appreciably as a result, notes NAR."