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Clear Capital: summer home prices rose, but caution remains

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Clear Capital said home prices rose 4% in the second quarter, but the real estate data firm warns rocky times lie ahead. Still, gains made in the summer are likely to be short-lived with consumer confidence weakening toward the end of the summer, Clear Capital said. "Although the summer gains appear to signal strong growth in home prices, it's important to keep in mind that these gains are off of the record lows of winter,” said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. "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." Clear Capital said the Midwest experienced the highest home price gain of 7.3% in the most recent quarter. The Northeast and South followed with price growth of 4.9% and 3.5%, respectively. Price gains in the West were more limited, landing in the 0.7% range on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Jacksonville, Fla., replaced Detroit as the worst performing market, with second-quarter home prices dropping 2.7% in the Florida city from the prior quarter. Clear Capital remains concerned about lagging consumer confidence. "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,” said Villacorta. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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