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Real estate sales and prices up, report shows

Real estate market perked up slightly between April and May, report shows.

Real estate market perked up slightly between April and May, report shows.

Home sales reached 4.860 million in May, up from 4.730 million in April, according to the latest REAL Trends Housing Market Report. Average home price increased 1.5 percent during the same period.

Nevertheless, the housing market itself is down from a year ago, with the number of closed sales dropping 8.6 percent. More people were moving into new homes last year due to the 2010 homebuyer tax credit, according to the report's editor, Steve Murray, quoted on the REAL Trends website.

Regionally, sales dropped most steeply in the Midwest, where closed sales went down 14 percent from 2010.

While the Midwest real estate market has slowed generally, the National Reserve’s Beige Book issued last week painted a fuller picture of the region. While the St. Louis and Minneapolis districts reported declining sales, Cleveland reported steady sales, and sales were up slightly in the Kansas City and Chicago districts.

There was no nationwide increase in home prices between April and June, according to the Beige Book. But this is countered by the REAL Trends report, which shows increased home prices in all regions across the country. The greatest average increase of 3.1 percent was experienced in the Northeast. Homeowners with underwater mortgages in the region should be heartened by this news, considering CoreLogic recently put the average amount of negative equity at $129,000 in New York and $120,000 in Massachusetts.