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Shaw: 9th and N Streets. (Hey didn’t I write about that Blagden Alley/Naylor Court area?)

Though still sharply down from last year’s numbers, home prices have continued to increase by small increments in May and June, according to the latest S&P Case-Shiller report.

“Prices in 20 major cities increased 1.4 percent during the month, nearly triple the rate of growth in May,” the New York Times reports, which also relays that average home prices are now at 2003 levels. Here’s more from that piece:

“May’s glimmer of stabilization has held up,” said Maureen Maitland, vice president for index services at Standard & Poor’s. She cautioned, however, that “we need a few more months of progress to start talking about a real recovery.”

Perhaps this news will send those paaaaatient, caaaaaaautious house-hunters, anxiously monitoring their favorite properties, into a tizzy—-and then we’ll witness an even greater boost in the near future.

Analyst Patrick Newport seems to think so:

“The market for selling homes will get a short-term shot in the arm from the so-called fence sitters who have been waiting for prices to fall even more before buying a home,” says Newport of IHS Global Insight in an analysis out today.

But there are other worries on the horizon, he adds: “A question hanging over the recent good news about housing is how much of the recent boost in demand is coming from first-time homebuyers taking advantage of an up-to $8,000 tax credit that expires at the end of November. Once this credit expires, home sales, housing starts, and house prices will take a hit. Unknown is how big this hit will be.”

Image by NCinDC, Flickr Creative Commons