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Regional Spotlight: April Posts 8th Straight Month of Illinois Home Sales Gains; Statewide Median Price Up 5 Percent

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RISMEDIA, May 25, 2010—The Illinois housing market saw positive indicators nearly across the board in April 2010 with upward momentum in home prices and sales jumping 34.4% on the heels of the home buyer tax credit deadline.

According to the Illinois Association of Realtors’ latest report, statewide total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) in April 2010 were up 34.4%, totaling 10,323 homes sold compared to April 2009 sales of 7,683 homes. The median price in April 2010 was $157,450, up 5.0% from $150,000 in April 2009. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

“Home prices made sizeable gains statewide, up 5% for the month of April, with nearly half of Illinois counties reporting home price gains including Cook and Lake counties in Chicagoland,” said Realtor Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City. “As some local housing markets gain stability, Realtors believe it’s important to turn more attention to the higher cost areas of the Chicago region and urge increased loan limits for FHA and government-sponsored enterprise financing. Otherwise, some buyers in these markets will simply be shut out.”

Adds Onorato: “Mortgage interest rates remain at record lows. With affordable prices and new listings coming on the market, buyers will find good opportunities even after the tax credit.”

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), year-over-year home sales were positive for the tenth consecutive month, up 47.1% to 7,071 homes sold (single-family and condominiums) in April 2010 compared to 4,807 homes sold in April 2009. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $190,000 in April 2010, down 0.5% from $191,000 in April 2009.

“For the first time since the recession began, the housing markets in Illinois and Chicagoland region almost presented positive indicators across the board. Sales continue to exhibit positive increases through April and the forecasts suggest a continuation of these trends through July,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “For the Illinois market as a whole, median prices are anticipated to increase in the three to five percent range, while Chicagoland will see little or no change.”

Adds Hewings: “Forecasts for employment in Illinois reveal the potential for modest job growth in the 5,000 to 10,000 range over the next 12 months; over the past 12 months the Illinois economy has shed over 148,000 jobs.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 5.17% in April 2010, up from 5.03% during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in April it averaged 4.85%.

In the city of Chicago, April total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were up 41.1% to 1,985 sales compared to 1,407 homes sold in April 2009, the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. The city of Chicago median price in April 2010 was $225,000, up 3.2% compared to $218,000 a year ago in April 2009.

“It is great to see the Chicago market’s resilience with a steady increase of volume absorption of properties, as well as traditional sales increasing at a moderate pace. We are also seeing increased movement in the city’s condo market, with nearly double the number of units sold in 2010 versus the same period last year,” said Realtor Genie Birch, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and a broker associate with Koenig & Strey Real Living, Chicago. “Low interest rates and motivated sellers make this an opportune time for home buyers to consider their ability to purchase, today.”

According to the IAR report, total home sales (single-family and condominiums) comparing April 2010 to April 2009 were up in 57 of 99 Illinois counties reporting with 47 of 99 counties posting median price increases. The following Illinois counties reported both sales and median price increases for the month: Champaign sales up 47.9%, median price up 7.3% to $142,750; Cook sales up 45.5%, median price up 1.8% to $195,000; Lake sales up 44.0%, median price up 11.2% to $200,000; McLean sales up 29.5%, median price up 12.2% to $152,000; Peoria, sales up 21.4%, median price up 4.4% to $107,000; and Sangamon sales up 23.9%, median price up 11.3% to $120,100.

For more information, visit www.illinoisrealtor.org.

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