Chicago home prices changed little in February

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S&P/Case-Shiller: Recovery gains a little speed in some markets.
Home prices in the Chicago area did little more than tread water from January to February but remained ahead of their levels a year earlier, according to a widely watched home price barometer released Tuesday.

Picture: One of three homes for sale on a block in Wheaton in July 2014. (Chuck Berman/ Chicago Tribune)
Article By Mary Ellen Podmolik      Chicago Tribune

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index showed that local home prices were flat in February after a 0.2 percent decline in January. Compared with a year earlier, February home prices rose 3.4 percent.

February condominium prices in the Chicago area also were flat compared with January, but were up 3.4 percent from February 2014.

While higher than the year-over-year gains posted by cities such as Cleveland, New York and Phoenix, the pricing improvement in the Chicago area pales when compared with high-flying markets such as Denver, where prices were up 10 percent from a year earlier; San Francisco, up 9.8 percent; and Dallas, up 8.6 percent.

Nationally, home prices rose 0.1 percent in February from January, and were up 4.2 percent year-over-year. That puts them about 10 percent below the high set in July 2006, according to David Blitzer, chairman of S&P Dow Jones Indices’ index committee

The pricing index’s level for the Chicago area is akin to where home values were in January 2003, long before the market peaked.

The latest read of home prices comes as another report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency shows a very slow uptick in mortgage rates. According to the agency, the average interest rate on a conventional 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.95 percent in March, compared with 3.91 percent in February.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index tracks home prices by looking at a three-month moving average of single-family home sales. Data reported last week by the Illinois Association of Realtors, which looks at all sales on a monthly basis, showed that in March the median price of a home sold in the nine-county Chicago area rose 16.6 percent, to $204,000.    Twitter @mepodmolik    Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

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