By JAMES B. STEWART
Passing through the Fort Myers, Fla., airport a few weeks ago, I noticed people eagerly signing up for a free bus tour of foreclosed real estate—with all properties offering water views. During the ride to my hotel, the young driver volunteered that he had just bought his first house, paying $65,000 for a foreclosed property in nearby Cape Coral that last sold for over $250,000. He said he had never expected to be able to buy anything on a driver’s salary, let alone something that nice.
Last week, Standard & Poor’s reported that its S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price index of real-estate values increased this past quarter over the first quarter of 2009, the first quarter-on-quarter increase in three years. Its index of 20 major cities also rose for the three months ended June 30 over the three months ended May 31, with only hard-hit Detroit and Las Vegas experiencing declines. The week before that, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales volume of existing homes was up 7.2% in July from June.
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