In May, the California-based PMI Group gave Chicago homeowners good news on the direction house prices are expected to go. PMI reported a big quarterly drop in the risk of further declines in home values. Chicago’s risk index had dropped from 69.6 percent to 47.6 percent by the end of the fourth quarter of 2009 (the most recent period for which data were available). By PMI’s estimation, that means that house prices here have a better-than-even chance of going up rather than down over the next two years. (Compare that with a 99.9 percent risk index in Miami—and a very low 12.3 percent in Pittsburgh.) “For people [in Chicago] who have had trouble making their payments and might be considering a default, [the numbers suggest that] if you can stick it out for the next two years or so, in the long term it’s going to work out for you,” says Joel Luebkeman, a PMI spokesman.