News Column

Home Prices Not as Hot, but Still Rising

September 24, 2013

Mary Ellen Podmolik, Chicago Tribune

hispanic couple looking for home

Sept. 24--July home prices across the nation continued to beat their monthly and year-ago comparisons but the rate of increase slowed, according to a widely watched barometer of the housing market.

The Chicago area led the nation in monthly gains, posting a 3.2 percent increase in prices in July, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, released Tuesday.

The monthly local gain in July followed a 3.2 percent increase in June and a 3.6 percent gain in May. On an annualized basis, home prices in the Chicago area were up 7.8 percent in July, putting them in line with where the local home market was in late 2002, pre-market crash.

Condominium prices in the Chicago area rose 3.9 percent month-over-month in July and were up 14 percent from July 2012. That's akin to where condo prices were in July 2002.

In the local market, the biggest price gains were in homes that sold for more than $308,120.

Nationallly, the home price index showed gains in the top 20 cities included in the monthly index for the fourth consecutive month. Home prices rose 1.8 percent in July and were up 12.4 percent year-over-year.

However, in 15 cities, the rate of improvement slowed in July, compared with June.

Cities in the Southwest continue to lead the nation's housing market recovery, but all cities remain far below the pricing peaks they achieved before the housing bubble burst.

"Since April 2012, all 20 cities are up month to month," said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P Dow Jones Indices' index committee. "However, the monthly rates of price gains have declined. More cities are experiencing slow gains each month than the previous month, suggesting that the rate of increase may have peaked."

For instance, in San Francisco, home prices were up almost 25 percent year-over-year but the 2.2 percent monthly gain in July compared with 2.7 percent in June. Miami's 1.2 percent increase in prices was down from a 2.1 percent increase in June; prices in that city rose almost 14 percent year-over-year. -- Twitter @mepodmolik


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Original headline: Chicago leads home price gains in key index

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