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Real Estate News: December Illinois home sales mark sixth month of gains

February 1, 2012

Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A combination of unseasonably mild weather, historically low mortgage rates and attractive market pricing led to a sixth straight month of increases in home sales, according to data released by the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR).

IAR’s latest report shows statewide home sales (including single family and condominiums) in December 2011 totaled 8,828 homes sold, up 14 percent from 7,746 home sales in December 2010. The statewide median price in December was $125,500, down 10.4 percent from $140,000 in December 2010. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

For the year, Illinois home sales were nearly even with the previous year, down 0.1 percent with 103,785 homes sold in 2011 compared to 103,899 homes sold in 2010. The year-end statewide median price for 2011 was $137,500, down 9.2 percent from $151,500 in 2010.

While median home prices continue to be a concern in much of the state, the continued trend of month-over-month increases in the number of home sales is encouraging news,” said Loretta Alonzo, CRB, GRI, president of the IAR and broker-owner of Century 21 Alonzo & Associates in La Grange Park. “Buyers are finding deals that are simply too good to pass up, and that, coupled with stronger consumer optimism, is making this an excellent way to start 2012.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 3.94 percent in December 2011, down from 4 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in December, it averaged 4.8 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single family and condominiums) in December 2011 totaled 6,090 homes sold, up 17 percent from December 2010 sales of 5,204 homes. The median price in December 2011 was $145,000 in the Chicago PMSA, down 13.6 percent compared to last year in December when it was $167,850.

For the year, home sales made gains in the Chicago PMSA, up 1.3 percent to 69,900 homes sold compared to 69,009 homes sold in 2010. The year-end 2011 median price for the Chicago PMSA was $163,000, down 11.9 percent from $185,000 in 2010.

Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois, said there are signs the economy is improving, although the number of unresolved foreclosures continues to be a drag on the housing market.

Housing market forecasts for January, February and March 2012 for Illinois and the Chicago PMSA suggest that sales volume will be significantly higher than the same period last year, although prices will still be lower than a year ago,” Hewings said. “Until these foreclosed properties and additions expected in 2012 clear the market, sustained upward movement in prices will be unlikely.”

More than half of Illinois counties reporting (52 of 100) showed year-over-year home sales increases in December 2011. Forty-three counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Champaign, up 12.2 percent to $131,000; Grundy, up 3.7 percent to $140,000; Kankakee, up 10.5 percent to $114,900; Peoria, up 0.9 percent to $118,000; Saint Clair, up 5.5 percent to $115,000; Sangamon, up 1.2 percent to $119,375; and Woodford, up 8.5 percent to $147,575.

In the city of Chicago, December 2011 home sales (single family and condominiums) totaled 1,536, up 6.4 percent from 1,444 homes sold in December 2010. The city of Chicago median home sale price for December 2011 was $156,000, down 6.2 percent compared to December 2010 when it was $166,250.

For the year, home sales totaled 17,715 in the city of Chicago, down 7.2 percent from 19,089 sales in 2010. The year-end statewide median price for 2011 was $175,000, down 13.8 percent from $203,000 in 2010.

Realtor Bob Floss, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Bob Floss and Son Realty, said: “December ended the year with an optimistic showing of buyers coming out and making decisions about investing in a home. While the year-end numbers for 2011 were down over 2010, a positive uptick in sales toward the end of the year is a great indicator of a strong winter and spring season for buyers and sellers, alike, looking to get off the fence. Still problematic is the downward pressure distressed properties are putting on the market and a trend we will continue to monitor this year as we observe changes in median pricing throughout the city.”

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 31 participating Illinois Realtor local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Jan. 7, 2012, for the period Dec. 1-31, 2011. 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.

The IAR is a voluntary trade association whose 41,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the IAR works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation that safeguards and advances the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtor.org/marketstats.

From the Feb. 1-7, 2012, issue

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