Home Prices Little Changed

Home prices have started to tread water. The Case-Shiller Index, one of the most-quoted measures of the housing boom and bust, barely moved in October compared to September.

That's good news considering that last winter, from October through March, the 20-city index fell more than 2 percent a month. Stability is a huge improvement compared to chaos and confusion. But the improvement in home prices over the last six months - peaking with increases of more than 1 percent in July and August - still leaves millions of home owners owing more to their mortgage lenders than their homes are currently worth.

These millions of vulnerable homeowners are the anvil hanging over the head of the housing market.