US housing slump set for long run

■ US house prices rose slightly in February, new data showed yesterday, but may not really recover for decades, a top economist warned. The Case Shiller index showed a 0.2 per cent gain in February – its first increase in 10 months. However the index’s co-creator, professor Robert Shiller, warned a weak labour market and wider unease among consumers is outweighing the impact of low interest rates. “I worry that we might not see a really major turnaround in our lifetimes,” he warned. Meanwhile the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index held steady in April, indicating a solid improvement in the economy.