3 of 8
Housing: Still sluggish
Housing: Still sluggish

What it is Home values affect all property owners, so the change in prices of homes sold by homeowners is one of the more informative readings on the health of the housing market.

Why it's important: Home prices serve as a key measure of consumers' wealth and the financial sector's overall stability. When home prices rise, consumers have more funds to borrow and spend. Rising prices also mean the value of financial institutions' large real estate portfolios increase, which, in theory, gives banks more of a cushion to lend.

Where we're headed: Home prices began to stabilize as sales rose on the back of the Recovery Act's homebuyer tax credit. But sales and prices have since fallen back. Home foreclosures, which have totaled 8.4 million during the recession, are still trending higher.

NEXT: Inflation: Uncomfortably low
Last updated November 23 2010: 10:39 AM ET
Get to know the G20 nations. The U.S. economy still leads the world, but China is hot on its heels. More
Consumer prices for everything other than food and energy are rising, but at a rate so sluggish, it's the smallest price increase on record. More
With the economy front and center, we're keeping a close eye on Congress and Obama. Stay tuned for updates on what they get done and what gets punted. More
Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.