When it comes to real estate prices, everybody has an opinion. In this post-bubble market of 2007, pundits often cite various market statistics such as housing starts, median home prices, listing counts and average days on market to justify their view of future market direction. It's often difficult to sort out the importance of these barometers both individually and collectively. Fortunately, we can now ask Mr. Market, who distills all this information down to a simple contract price. Since May 2006, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has offered futures contracts and options based on the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. This index and its regional sub-indices use the repeat sales pricing technique to measure housing markets by collecting data on single-family home re-sales, capturing re-sold sale prices to form sale pairs. Price appreciation or depreciation is more accurately reflected by the change in value of the same properties over time across entire market area...
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