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Economic Roundup: Home Prices, Consumer Confidence Up

Home prices notched their first quarter-over-quarter rise in three years and a key indicator of consumer confidence spiked in August, sending more optimistic vibes to Wall Street and reinforcing the widely-held view that we're emerging from an historic recession.

Year-over-year, home prices are down around 15 percent, but the quarterly rise is an important indicator that prices are bottoming out, even if we haven't seen the true floor. On a national level, reports MarketWatch, home prices are back to their 2003 levels. Here's the graph from Calculated Risk showing the first quarterly rise in home prices since 2006.

Just as important as the economy's rounding a corner is consumers' increasing belief that the economy is rounding a corner. Unemployment is still a gloomy picture, with Obama official expecting the number to hit 10 percent eventually. But the survey found consumers thinking more positively in three key categories, as more expect better job prospects, improved business conditions, and fewer Americans (just 16 percent) expect the economy to worsen in the next few months.