Home price increases fade; Experts expect more foreclosures in coming year By Sandra Guy Chicago Sun Times 12-30-2009

Home price increases fade; Experts expect more foreclosures in coming year By Sandra Guy Chicago Sun Times 12-30-2009

Home price increases fade, Experts expect more foreclosures in coming year
By Sandra Guy
Chicago Sun Times
December 30, 2009

An economist and a broker said that no downfall in home prices is imminent after a report Tuesday showed that Chicago tied for second in month-to-month home-price declines among 20 major metropolitan areas.

Yet, experts agree that more foreclosures are likely in 2010 because the employment market is weak and prime-market homeowners have adjustable-rate mortgages with rates set to skyrocket nest year.

"The turnaround in home prices seen in the spring and summer has faded, with only seven of the 20 cities seeing month-to-month gains," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor's in New York.

The Standard & Poor's/ Case-Shiller national home price index edged up 0.4 percent in October from September.

Home prices in the Chicago market tied with Atlanta in showing a 1 percent decline. The largest month-over-month decline of 1.6 percent was in the Tampa, Fla., market.

Chicago previously had seen five straight months of home-price increases, including a 1.2 percent rise in September from August.

Markets with the biggest price gains were Phoenix, up 1.3 percent, and San Francisco, up 1.2 percent.

"Some of the cities have been volatile. I wouldn't put a lot of weight in a single month's numbers," Blitzer said, noting that one month doesn't make a trend.

Genie Birch, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and a broker associate at Koenig & Strey GMAC, said Chicago hasn't seen the boom-and-bust cycles of Las Vegas and Phoenix, but she conceded that people fear losing their jobs and that adjustable-rate mortgage time bombs still exist.

"We continue to see people buying" homes, Birch said. "We're still seeing properties coming on the market. We're hoping they are put on the market at the right price."

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