US home prices posted a record annual decline of 15.9% in June, but the pace of monthly falls slowed significantly, offering hope that the ailing US housing market is edging towards a rebound.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence rose in August by more than expected, according to the Conference Board. Amid declining petrol prices, Americans have grown more confident about the future, though they remain gloomy about the present.

Economists have been seeking indications of when the mortgage crisis will start to loosen its grip on the US economy, paving the way for a recovery to begin. Despite the record annual drop in US home prices, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index for June gave room for encouragement in that the pace of monthly declines, which hovered around 2% earlier in the year, slowed to 0.5%. Between April and May it had already moderated from a 1.4% drop to 0.9%.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph