Home Value: Worst Is Over but Prices Could Drop, Case-Shiller Suggests

Case-Shiller infographic chart
Case-Shiller infographic chart

Here's the good news from Standard & Poor's about home prices: "I think this is a buying opportunity," says David Wyss, S&P's chief economist, "for most people buying a house that they actually intend to live in."

And here's the bad news: Wyss' advice comes with some big warnings. Beware of buying a home in an area with high rates of foreclosure. Prices will fall again in foreclosure cities so steeply that the overall Case-Shiller Home Price Index, S&P's closely watched survey, will fall 10 percent over the next winter.

Also, forget about buying a home if you expect home prices to ever rise again like they did in the housing boom. Wyss expects modest appreciation only, even after values bottom out this winter.

"The main value you should be getting from the house should be the value of living there," says Wyss.