Chicago-Area Home Prices Up for Fourth Straight Month

by Chicago Agent

An index of local home prices rose for the fourth straight month, spurred by soon-to-expire federal tax credits for home purchases.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices rose 1.0% from June to July and was roughly even with its level in December 2002.

Chicago was among 12 of 20 U.S. cities tracked by Standard & Poor’s where prices rose from June to July, according to a report released Tuesday. An index of the 20 cities rose 0.6% over the same period and was up 3.2% from July 2009.

While that’s positive news for homeowners, housing experts worry that the market is headed for further declines after federal homebuyer tax credits expire at the end of the month and the economy struggles to create jobs.

“The next few months may give us an idea of the true strength of the housing market, as the temporary economic stimuli will have ended,” David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s, said in a news release. “Housing starts, sales and inventory data reported for August do not show signs of a robust market, and foreclosures continue.”

The Chicago price index in July still was down 1.7% from the year-earlier period and 25% below its September 2006 peak.

An index of local condominium prices rose 0.1% from June to July, but was down 4.4% from July 2009, according to Standard & Poor’s.

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