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The housing market in many US cities is performing better than recently released national data would suggest, leading some analysts and real estate brokers to express cautious optimism about the prospects for a recovery.
List prices rose in 24 of 26 cities tracked by Altos Research in May, with San Francisco, Washington and San Jose, California, showing the biggest gains.
New York and Las Vegas were the only two cities in the index where prices declined.
A separate index compiled by CoreLogic that tracks prices in 6,507 postal codes rose slightly in April compared with March - the first such increase since a homebuyer tax credit that helped prop up the market expired in April 2010.
And yet interviews with realtors in half a dozen cities around the country paint a different picture. They say that the volume of sales and prices started to strengthen in April and have continued to gain momentum through the first weeks of June.
"In January we were checking to see if the phones were still connected," said Greg Herb, a realtor in south-eastern Pennsylvania.
But after a weak start to the year, pending sales and new inventory grew strongly in May.
No one is suggesting there is a boom under way, only that the market may not be as bad as some recent analysis has suggested....
California, hard hit by the housing crisis, has seen a notable pick-up. "People are still unsure, because there are a lot of mixed signals," said Jim Hamilton, the former head of the California Realtors Association. "But, overall, more buyers are coming into the market."