Chicago-area home prices set another recession low
Sun-Times Media June 28, 2011 12:58PM
Updated: June 28, 2011 1:04PM
Home prices dipped 0.4 percent in the Chicago area in April from March, the eighth straight monthly decline, and marked the sixth straight month of new recession lows, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
But there are already signs of improvement, according to a local report.
Chicago was among six markets to set new lows, joining Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa, the S&P/Case-Shiller data showed.
Since March 2010, prices in the Chicago area have dropped 8.6 percent, worse than the 7.6 percent year-over-year decline reported in February.
Nationally, prices rose for the first time in eight months. The 10-city and 20-city composites were up 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent respectively in April versus March, but were down 3.1 percent and 4 percent respectively from April 2010.
Part of the strength nationally month-over-month is due to the seasonal pick up in the market, said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P. He said it’s too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to warmer weather.
That “seasonal pick-up may be coming a little later in Chicago,” he said.
He added the market here peaked later than in other parts of the country and didn’t experience “the incredible boom” other parts of the country did. So the recovery may also be lagging.
Local economic conditions are also weighing on the market here, he said. The unemployment rate in the metropolitan area currently stands at 9.8 percent.
Sales and prices here are forecast to improve in the Chicago area this summer, according to the University of Illinois’ Regional Economics Applications Laboratory. Annual sales are expected to rise 25 to 36 percent. Median prices for June, July and August are expected to be higher than May. Median prices rose 4.6 percent in May from April and home sales jumped 15.7 percent, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.
Nationally, 19 of 20 metropolitan areas saw price declines from April 2010, the S&P/Case-Shiller report showed. Washington, D.C. was the only market to post an annual increase, up 4 percent. Thirteen markets showed price increases from March.
“For a real recovery we would need to see several months of increasing home prices, large enough to shift the annual momentum to the positive side,” Blitzer said. “In short, better news, but still a lot of questions and a long way to go.”