Standard & Poor’s Price-Shiller

There was some significant good news about Michigan yesterday, though most media outlets ignored it. Fitch, one of the three big Wall Street credit rating agencies, upgraded the state’s bond rating in a number of categories, including general obligation bonds and school loan bonds. This should make it easier and cheaper for Michigan to raise and borrow money, something states do all the time.

The internationally influential rating agency also boosted the credit score of both the State Building Authority and the Municipal Bond Authority. Why did Fitch do this? Partly because of the auto industry’s rebound from the Great Recession.

A new report says housing prices are climbing in Detroit.

Home sale prices in major cities increased by about 4 percent from October 2011 to October 2012, and Detroit is rebounding more than twice as quickly.

However, news isn't all good for the city's housing market. Detroit still has the least expensive houses of any major U.S. city.

That's according to the Standard and Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The monthly report tracks the prices of existing, single family houses in metropolitan areas.

David Blitzer works on the index. He says Detroit has seen the largest housing recovery of any city since it bottomed out.

"It has rebounded substantially, but it's certainly not rebounded even to where it was in the year 2000," he said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says home sale prices fell in 19 of 20 major American cities last year. The exception was Detroit.

Standard & Poors follows monthly and yearly home sale prices. Maureen Maitland is an S&P vice president. She says Detroit’s home sale prices bucked the national downward trend last year and actually rose by half a percent in 2011.

Maitland says a few factors are working in Detroit’s favor.

“(Home sale prices) really couldn’t fall much lower. It really had bottomed out. It really had suffered a lot in the past two or three years," said Maitland, "But secondly, the auto industry is picking up. So, on a relative basis, there may be a few more jobs coming into the Detroit market.”  

Maitland says it will take another five to seven months of sustained growth to suggest Detroit’s housing market might finally be on the rebound. 

And in December, home prices declined slightly in Detroit.  

Detroit homes are selling now at prices that haven’t been seen since the mid-1990’s.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Detroit’s home prices may soon take another tumble.  Standard & Poor’s Price-Shiller index says home prices in the nation’s 20 largest cities are falling once again.    Home prices in Detroit aren’t falling as fast as other cities in the survey, but then again Detroit’s home prices are already the lowest among the nation’s 20 largest cities.  

  Home prices in Detroit haven’t been this low since 1995.