The economy continues to slowly improve but new data shows home prices have fallen – for the fifth month in a row.

Pat O’Keefe, Director of Economic Research at JH Cohn, suggests there’s a silver lining in the not-so-terrific news.

“The decline in prices is actually evidence that the market is healing” says O’Keefe, “in addition to the conventional market where sellers are offering their houses, we have a very large over-hang – nationwide and here in New Jersey…of properties in the foreclosure pipeline.”

He says many of those distressed properties – after a 16 month government investigation into foreclosure paperwork problems – are now coming back onto the market – and that’s pushing prices down – but the process should work itself out by the end of the year, and at that point, we could begin to see prices rise, as the housing market strengthens.