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August Home Sales in Illinois Up 25.9 Percent From Last Year

by Chicago Agent

Home sales in Illinois were up more than 25 percent for August.

According to the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR), home sales for the state of Illinois in August 2011 were up by 25.9 percent from sales in August 2010.

For the month of August, Illinois home sales, which include condominiums and single-family homes, reached 10,622. When compared with the number for August 2010, which was 8,434, it is clear that the last year has shown quite an increase in the home sales department.

When looking at the Chicago primary metropolitan statistical area (PMSA), comprised of nine counties, home sales for August 2011 reached 7,187, an increase of 27.6 percent from August 2010, when home sales totaled 5,632.

The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

City of Chicago home sales were at 1,787 in August 2011, up 20.3 percent from the 1,486 homes sold in August, 2010.

“August home sale prices in the city of Chicago continue to show positive signs for condo and single family homes,” said Mabel Guzman, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors. “With the number of condo units up 22.1 percent over sales from August 2010 and an increase of 17.8 percent of single family homes, respectively, we are seeing increased activity and more buyers making decisions to buy in a competitive market with historically low interest rates and compelling pricing.”

Realtor Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, president of IAR and a managing broker for Traders Realty in Peoria, notes that sales are not only rising from last year, but even from last month: “In some local markets prices are firming as homes are selling due to high affordability conditions and pent-up demand; 8.5 percent more homes sold statewide in August compared to the previous month of July.”

Yet, not everything in Illinois is currently on the rise, as Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL), explains.

“Housing sales in Illinois and the nine-county Chicago region increased in August and positive year-to-year changes are forecast in both the Chicago PMSA and Illinois for the next three months of September, October and November. However, the job market confirmed that the nation’s economic recovery is slowing down; the Illinois unemployment rate has increased four months in a row after 15 consecutive months of declines,” says Hewings.

How can Illinois residents afford to buy more homes as employment opportunities seem to be growing scarce? One possible explanation is a decrease in the statewide median home price from 2010 to 2011.

In August 2010, the median price for home sales was up to $157,500. In August of 2011, that median had dropped to $149,000, 5.4 percent lower than the previous year. The median is a market price that can be found directly in the middle of the spectrum, meaning that half of the sales were more expensive and half of the sales were less expensive.

Will the median decreases keep the housing sales market on the incline, despite lowering rates of employment? Hewing is skeptical that this will last long.

“Once again the debate has been joined about the appropriate response from the federal government to the lagging economy—attention to the deficit or a second stimulus package—but increasingly consumers are signaling frustration with Washington politics,” said Hewing. “The uncertainties and lack of a clearly articulated economic recovery strategy combine to dampen prospects for a sustained housing recovery”

Sales and price information is generated from a survey of Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales reported by 32 participating Illinois Realtor local boards and associations.

For more information visit http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/marketstats.

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