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US housing prices show signs of recovery, maybe best in years

Many commentators say that there is a strong link between the housing market and the overall economy. Ohio residents are well aware that the housing crunch has created economic problems. This blog has recently discussed the recent foreclosure rate in Ohio, as well as the decrease in bankruptcy filings that occurred across the state last year.

Foreclosures are one reason people may seek bankruptcy protection. Short sales have also been a hot topic in the news, as many homeowners across the country remain underwater on their mortgage. Recent data is suggesting that the housing market nationwide may be showing signs of improvement. People who watch the housing market say that home prices saw gains last year across the nation.

Prices showed gains, while existing inventory tightened up. The S&P-Case Schiller composite index shows that home prices in November rose a little more than one-half of one percent in November. That may not seem like a huge jump. However, when compared to November 2011, the composite index showed a 5.5 percent gain year over year. That is the largest price increase from year to year that has been seen in more than six years, dating back to the infancy of the housing crunch and start of the Great Recession.

As prices rise, homeowners who have been underwater may start seeing the value of the home turn around and head toward potential equity. For many people who are financially strapped, that may not seem like useful news at all. But for people who have a home-and other debt that has become unmanageable-the values of assets can be important. If a person chooses to find debt relief from the bankruptcy code, the financial structure of the entire household becomes important.

Similarly, some people chose to walk away from a home when the housing market put the value of the home well below the balance on the home loan. As market conditions change, a debtor may come to a different conclusion on how to proceed when still struggling with unmanageable debt. A Cincinnati bankruptcy lawyer can explain to Ohio residents how exemptions for assets in a bankruptcy case work, as well as what options may be available through filing for bankruptcy to relieve outstanding debts.

Source: Reuters, "Home prices see best yearly gain since 2006," Leah Schnurr, Jan. 29, 2013

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