New data from the Illinois Association of Realtors was released yesterday, showing that though the state continues to struggle with prices, sales have increased across the board from a year ago, an indication that even with problematic market forces, further good news may be on the horizon.
For July 2011, 9,708 homes were sold, an 18.4 percent July 2010. The statewide median price, though, was $153,000, down 3.8 percent from $159,000 in July 2010.
Data was very similar for existing homes in the nine-county Chicago area, which experienced a 19.2 percent in July from a year earlier with a 5.4 percent drop in median price.
Home sales in Chicago and Springfield, though, resisted that trend. In Chicago, July home sales rose 4.2 percent from a year earlier and median price also rose by 6.9 percent, while in Springfield, home sales jumped 24 percent and the median sale price rose 13.1 percent.
Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, the director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois, said the data reflects current economic conditions.
“The market, like the economy, continues to struggle, even though interest rates and prices would appear to suggest favorable conditions for housing purchases,” Hewings said. “It would seem that until the economy signals a clear rebound — with sustained employment growth of the order of 200,000 jobs added per month — can we expect to see a sustained uptick in housing sales and some modest recovery in prices. Since April, the unemployment rate has not shown any definitive movement.”
In spite of that, Hewings did say the data suggested further gains in Illinois housing.
“The forecast over the next three months indicates good news for the total number of sales, which will be positive year-over-year in August, September, and October for Illinois and the Chicagoland region,” Hewings said.
Beyond Chicago and Springfield, more than 60 percent of Illinois counties reported year-over-year sales increases in July 2011, including: Champaign, up 43.4 percent; Cook, up 9.5 percent; DuPage, up 41.6 percent; Kane, up 25.5 percent; Lake, up 35.7 percent; Peoria, up 30.8 percent; Rock Island, up 44.0 percent; Sangamon, up 30.9 percent; Will, up 22.1 percent; and Winnebago, up 14.4 percent.
Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, the president of the Illinois Association of Realtors,was very positive about the state-wide sales data.
“Illinois home sales saw a strong jump this month and the first year-over-year gain since June of 2010 when sales were still under the influence of the homebuyer tax credit stimulus,” Whitehurst said. “Mortgage interest rates remain at near-record lows and affordability conditions are still strong for qualified and motivated buyers who are out there studying their options.”