Forex News – US home prices fell, consumer confidence lower than expected

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Home prices in the United States declined less than expected in the year ending July 2011. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities fell 4.1 percent from July 2010, after a revised 4.4 percent drop in the 12 months to June. Expectations were for a 4.4 percent drop in prices.

The Case-Shiller index is based on a three-month average of home prices, which means the July data included values in May and June.

Meanwhile, a report released yesterday showed new home sales slipped 2.3 percent in August to a six-month low.

A weak jobs markets and household debt are preventing Americans from buying homes despite historically low mortgage rates.

Economists expect the housing sector will remain weak for years to come

The U.S. Federal Reserve last week unveiled new measures to ease credit further for home buyers, but analysts caution that the level of mortgage rates is not the main hurdle to buying.

A separate report today on U.S. consumer confidence showed little change in September. Americans are concerned about income and labor market conditions.

The survey conducted by the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence rose less than expected and only increased marginally to 45.4 from an upwardly revised 45.2 in August.

“The pessimism that shrouded consumers last month has also spilled into September. Consumers expressed greater concern about their expected earnings, a sign that does not bode well for spending,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center.