Home prices in Chicago continue slow upward trajectory

Many people have been keeping an eye on real estate in Chicago, watching for signs of improvement in one of the country's largest metros that took a significant hit when the housing bubble burst. The latest Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index was recently released, looking at housing data from August 2012. The index showed that home prices in the Chicago metropolitan area rose in August, but at a lesser pace than the metro experienced in July.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index revealed that in August, Chicago area home prices increased by 0.7 percent from July 2011. However, the August numbers were down 1.6 percent when compared with August 2011. In addition, July saw a more significant increase in home prices than August, with July home prices increasing 2.7 percent over June 2012.

According to the Chicago Tribune, August marks the sixth consecutive month-over-month improvement for Chicago, putting home prices at the same level they were at in March 2002.

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index compiles and analyzes data from the 20 largest metros in the country. Taking these 20 metros together, there was a national 2 percent annual gain in August. The Chicago metro was one of the 19 cities that showed gains in home prices for August. However, it was also one of three cities which saw year-over-year decrease: Chicago, Atlanta and New York.

"Home prices continued climbing across the country in August," David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement, reported ABC News. "Nineteen of the 20 cities and both composites showed monthly gains in August. Seventeen cities and both composites posted positive annual returns in August 2012. In 18 cities and both composites annual rates improved in August versus July. The sustained good news in home prices over the past five months makes us optimistic for continued recovery in the housing market."

Bloomberg News reported that the observed national home price increase is the biggest improvement seen in two years.

Looking specifically at condominiums, Chicago area condo prices rose for the sixth month in a row on a month-over-month basis, increasing 1.6 percent in August over July. The Tribune revealed that condo prices were near to where they were in January 2001. The index additionally revealed that condo prices were down when compared with last year, decreasing 3.4 percent from August 2011.