Chicago area home prices post third straight strong increase

(Crain’s) — A closely watched index of local home prices posted a third straight strong increase in July, rising to its highest point in nearly a year. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices rose 2.7 percent from June to July, according to a report released this morning. The local index jumped 4.6 percent from May to June and 4.5 percent from April to May. The July index number is the highest for the area since September. Chicago-area prices are still are down almost 1 percent year-over-year, according to the report.  A 20-city composite price index increased 1.6 percent from June to July and was up 1.2 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to the report.

“The news on home prices in this report confirm recent good news about housing,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. “Single-family housing starts are well ahead of last year’s pace, existing home sales are up, the inventory of homes for sale is down and foreclosure activity is slowing.

“All in all, we are more optimistic about housing. Upbeat trends continue. For the third time in a row, all 20 cities and both composites had monthly gains.” The July increase was the fourth in a row for the Chicago area. Prices rose 1.2 percent from April to May. On a seasonally adjusted basis, Chicago-area prices rose 0.8 percent in the period, compared with a 0.4 percent rise for the 20-city index. Chicago-area prices still are down about 31 percent from their peak in September 2006, according to Case-Shiller data.

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