<!--:es-->Houses are cheaper, so why aren’t you buying?<!--:-->

Houses are cheaper, so why aren’t you buying?

NEW YORK – The upside to a housing slump is cheaper homes. But many prospective buyers don’t see bargains yet, especially as stricter lending standards qualify only the cream of the credit crop.

While some markets like south Florida, Las Vegas and the central valley of California have seen sharp declines in home prices — up to 20 percent by some measures — overall national statistics show a much less dramatic drop so far.

Home prices fell 0.4 percent nationally in the third quarter, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. That’s the first decline after 50 straight quarters of appreciation averaging 1.62 percent per quarter. On Wednesday, the U.S. Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, another home price tracker, said prices dropped a record 6.7 percent in October from a year ago.