As measured by prices, the housing market is definitely in better shape than it was this time last year, as the pace of deterioration has stabilized for now. However, the rate of improvement seen during the summer of 2009 has not been sustained. In the most recent months we are seeing fewer and fewer MSAs reporting monthly gains in prices. Only four cities saw month to month improvements in December over November, when you look at the raw data. We are in a seasonally slow period for home prices, however, so it is not surprising to see better statistics in the seasonally-adjusted data, where 14 of the markets and the two monthly composites all rose in December. Similarly, the National Composite fell by 1.1% in the fourth quarter, but rose by 1.6% on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s