Maybe housing really is back. Standard & Poor's reported Tuesday morning that its 20-city house price index rose for

The S&P Case-Shiller house price index climbed 2.2% in May after a 1.8% increase in April. April marked the first increase in seven months. But overall, the 20-city index is down 0.7% from May 2011.

The chairman of the S&P index committee David Blitzer pointed out that all 20 cities posted positive returns in May and 17 of those cities (except Boston, Charlotte and Detroit) saw their rates of change increase compared to April.

But he cautioned that housing data on sales and other indicators have been mixed lately and that home values usually trend upward in the spring and summer.

“The housing market appears to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait and see mode for the next few months,” Blitzer said.

Despite the recent improvement in values, prices are still off 33% since the peak in the summer of 2006, according to the Case-Shiller HPI.

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