If you ignore distressed sales, says the Wall Street Journal, the latest numbers from CoreLogic say that housing prices are actually stable.

Of course in the real world you can’t ignore those short sales and REOs, but from a long-term economic view at least, it’s good news.

While total home prices were down by 3.9% from one year ago, prices were down by just 0.5% from one year ago when excluding distressed sales. In September, total prices were down by 3.8% from one year ago, but non-distressed prices were down by 2.1%.

“That’s nice,” I hear you say, “But out on the front lines we’re looking at the big picture. And falling prices are falling prices.”

Ah, but maybe that’s not exactly the case. Quoth the Journal:

If it’s true that prices of non-distressed homes are stabilizing, even as distressed homes continue to fall in price, it would mean that a distressed home is “increasingly being seen as a poor substitute for a non-distressed home,” writes Stephen Kim, the Barclays housing analyst.

Why not just click here and read the whole thing yourself?