Thanks to the usual spring-time pickup in home sales in the Chicago area, prices rose in the region in May, though that uptick in values has done little to alleviate fears that the nation's housing market will continue to struggle for the remainder of the year. The Standard & Poor's / Case-Shiller home price index, which tracks prices in the nation's 20 largest metropolitan areas, showed that prices of single family homes in the greater Chicago area rose 1.7 percent from April to May. Prices were still lower than they were in February, however, and were 8.1 percent below where they were a year ago. In fact, prices in May were about the same as those in May of 2001.Condo prices in Chicago, meanwhile rose 2.9 percent from April to May, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, but remain at about the same level they were in the mid-2000s. On a national basis, home prices increased in May for a second consecutive month, and 16 of the 20 cities tracked by the increase showed gains. Prices fell in Detroit, Las Vegas and Tampa Bay while they were unchanged in Phoenix.Demand for homes typically surges in May so the pickup in prices was somewhat expected. Combined with other recent housing market reports, it appears as if the market is still basically bouncing along the bottom, as it has for the last couple of years. The market continues to be held back by tough lending standards and poor consumer outlook thanks to the nation's continually struggling job market.
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