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U.S. home prices rise most in 6 years, slide in Chicago area

U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent September compared with year ago. AP file photo

U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent in September compared with a year ago. AP file photo

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Updated: December 8, 2012 6:28AM



U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent in September compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since July 2006, according to a report by CoreLogic.

But the numbers were not positive for the Chicago market, with prices falling 2.9 percent from a year ago. Excluding sales of distressed properties — those in foreclosure or bank-owned — local prices gained 1.8 percent.

Illinois showed a similar pattern, with sale prices declining 2.3 percent overall, and gaining 1.7 percent excluding distressed sales. The state had the second-greatest depreciation in the nation, behind Rhode Island, where prices fell 3.5 percent.

The five states with the highest home price appreciation were: Arizona, up 18.7 percent; Idaho, 13.1 percent, Nevada, 11 percent, Hawaii, 8.9 percent and Utah, 8.7 percent.

The real estate data provider also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.3 percent in September from August, the first drop after six straight increases. The monthly figures are not seasonally adjusted. CoreLogic says the monthly decline reflects the end of the summer home-buying season and not a softening in the housing recovery.

Steady price increases should give the housing market more momentum when home sales pick up in the spring. Rising prices encourage more homeowners to sell their homes and entice would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Other measures have also shown healthy gains in home prices over the past year. The Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller 20-city index rose 2 percent in August compared with a year ago, a faster pace than the previous month.

The price gains in the past year reported by CoreLogic were widespread. Prices have risen in all but seven states. And they declined in only 18 large cities (including Chicago) out of 100 that are tracked by the index.

CoreLogic’s price index is based on repeat sales of the same homes and tracks their price changes over time.

Several reports last month showed that the housing market is improving, though from depressed levels.

Home builders started construction on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years in September. They also requested the most building permits in four years, a sign that many are confident that home sales gains will continue.

New home sales jumped last month to the highest annual pace in the past two and a half years. Sales of previously occupied homes dipped in September but have risen steadily in the past year.

Sales of both new and previously occupied homes are still below levels that are consistent with a healthy housing market. That’s partly because the supply of available homes for sale remains low. And many prospective home buyers are struggling to qualify for a mortgage or scrape together the bigger down payments that many banks are requiring.

AP with Sun-Times staff contributing



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