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Illinois & Chicago Toast Thanksgiving with Strong Home Sales

by Chicago Agent

Homes sales in Illinois, particularly in Chicago, showed impressive gains in November.

Year-over-year home sales in Illinois rose by 14.2 percent in November, while sales in the city of Chicago were up by 20.4 percent, yet more indicators that the state’s real estate market may be emerging from the tough market of the last couple years.

According to the latest batch of data from the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR), state sales increased from 6,966 in November 2010 to 7,954 last month, though the statewide median price continued its descent, falling 11.4 percent. The narrative was almost identical for Chicago. Home sales were up from 1,144 to 1,377, but median sale price declined by 12.3 percent.

Loretta Alonzo, the president of the IAR, said the latest positive sales data could be a sign of things to come.

“Signs are emerging that a recovery in the housing market is underway including the steady uptick in home sales activity, which is expected to continue into the new year,” Alonzo said. “As we move through the distressed properties, predominant in the Chicagoland market, and begin to see more positive reports on the jobs front we will be looking for some stabilization in home prices to coincide with the rising home sales.”

Countywide, year-over-year sales for the Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), a nine-county region, rose 20.7 percent, from 4,518 homes sold last year to 5,453 last month. As with the state and city, median price in November declined further, dropping by 14.3 percent.

Bob Floss, the president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, said that low prices and interest rates continue to make this a prime buyers market.

“The market is being stimulated by buyers who are doing their homework and buying at the most compelling price they can, while sellers are working aggressively with their Realtors to price their homes to sell,” Floss said. “Chicago is seeing a combination of unit absorption paired with distressed homes that are still pushing down sale prices. Low interest rates and smart opportunities to buy make for favorable market conditions for both buyers and sellers looking to right-size to their lifestyle.”

And Floss is not exaggerating on interest rates. The average 30-year FRM in November was just 4.0 percent, down from 4.30 percent last year.

Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois, echoes Alonzo’s earlier statement on November’s data reflecting a potential recovery in housing.

“Little by little, there is some accumulating evidence that there may be some measure of recovery in the housing market,” Hewings said. “The positive trends in both Illinois and the Chicago PMSA housing markets stem in large part from the fact that the housing inventory levels are low and the pending home sales indices are high.”

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