House prices may be rising, but it may be 2023 before they reach prior levels, adjusted for inflation.

Lies, damned lies, ... and statistics. Who said that?

When it comes to house prices, there is data and there are numbers. Data reflect comparative benchmarks that enable smarter decisions; numbers get used by the media in headlines.

Wall Street Journal staffer Laura Kusisto tries to right some statistical wrongs as she addresses the issue of house prices--the nominal values of which have been soaring for a couple of years. Meanwhile, the "real" values, those where home price tags have been adjusted for inflation, may take years longer before they reach the level they hit in 2006, before the Great Recession cratered the market.

Kusisto writes:

A new analysis by real-estate information firm CoreLogic finds that when adjusted for inflation, home prices are years away from hitting the lofty heights of the housing boom. Indeed, economists there say that prices are unlikely to surpass 2006 levels until 2023 or beyond, some 17 years past the peak.

So, take all the stories about prices being "out over their skis" with a grain of salt. There's headroom. It all depends on job security and wage growth, as it always does.

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