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Parsing the data on home sale prices

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home sale price is down by 13.8% from last year because many purchases now are being made by first-time homebuyers taking advantage of distressed prices on foreclosures and short sales. And much of the country will no doubt heave a sigh of relief at the first sign that home prices (eventually, someday) are beginning to rise.

Not so fast, according to an interesting article by property valuation specialist Andrew Jeffrey, who writes a column for the always enlightening Minyanville financial infotainment web site. It points out that over the last 6-9 months, defaults on prime and jumbo mortgages are rising at a faster rate than subprime. And as those higher-end homes begin to come on the market at distressed prices, they will in turn begin to push up median home price figures–even though foreclosure on more expensive homes isn’t exactly good news for the overall housing market or economy.

But hey, we can worry about that when the stats actually start to go up, right?

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