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Regional Spotlight—Chicago-area homebuyers didn’t let the holiday season distract them from purchasing a new home. RE/MAX reports that during the final month of 2013, home sales in the seven-county metro Chicago real estate market totaled 8,053 units, 9 percent more than during the same month last year, while the median sales price was $178,000, an impressive 17 percent higher than in December 2012.

The average time a home sold in December spent on the market before going under contract was 101 days, or 37 days less than a year earlier. Meanwhile, the inventory of homes listed for sale continued to tighten, falling to 29,140 homes at the end of December, or 17 percent less than at the end of 2012. The RE/MAX analysis is based on home-sale data gathered by MRED LLC, the regional multiple listing service.

Sales of distressed properties, which include foreclosures and short sales, accounted for 36 percent of December sales this year compared to 45 percent last year. Foreclosures made up 26 percent of all home sales. The average market time for a foreclosure was 86 days, and the median sales price of $91,151 was 20 percent higher than in December 2012.

Home sales activity increased in six of the seven metro counties, with Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will registering gains in total sales of attached and detached homes during December.

Sales activity was especially strong in two areas, DuPage County, where closed transactions rose 16 percent to 939 units, and the City of Chicago, which registered a 14 percent increase in sales to 2,098 units. In both cases, strong sales were accompanied by a substantial increase in home values. The median sales price in DuPage for December was $216,000, 17 percent more than a year earlier. In Chicago, the median sales price of $210,000 represented a 14 percent increase.

In Cook County as a whole, including Chicago, sales activity rose 10 percent to 4,667 units and the median price climbed 17 percent to $175,000.

Results for the five other counties were as follows: Sales in Kane County totaled 538 units, a gain of 6 percent, and the median price was $175,500, up 24 percent. Sales in Kendall County fell 10 percent to 155 units, while the median sales price rose 23 percent to $178,000. In Lake County, sales increased 15 percent to 795 units and the median price was $185,000, up 19 percent. McHenry County sales rose 1 percent to 348 units, and the $150,000 median sales price was up 8 percent. Will County had 611 sales, a gain of 3 percent, and the median price rose 0.4 percent to $156,100.

For more information, visit www.illinoisproperty.com.

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