Home prices hit post-recession lows

Home prices in the post-recession housing market dropped again in the first quarter, but experts believe the market could improve in the near future.

According to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price indices, prices hit a post-recession low in the first quarter, as the national composite fell by 2 percent.

“While there has been improvement in some regions, housing prices have not turned,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices. “This month’s report saw all three composites and five cities hit new lows. However, with last month’s report nine cities hit new lows. Further, about half as many cities, seven, experienced falling prices this month compared to 16 last time.”

Only seven cities reporting new lows shows the potential for future improvement. Record-low mortgage rates could entice buyers into the market, which could increase sales and, in turn, property values.

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage loan has been below 4 percent since December 2011, which could provide a boost to the housing industry as 2012 progresses.

A rise in home prices could be a good sign for property managers and the rental market, as many people may not want to pay the high price of a home and instead rent an apartment or condominium.