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RISMEDIA, July 25, 2008-Illinois home sales picked up in June from May sales figures while the overall housing market remained strained by low consumer confidence and a troubled economy. According to the Illinois Association of Realtors(R) latest report, total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) were up 3.6% in June 2008 to 11,643 sales compared to May 2008 sales of 11,243; year-over-year sales were down 27.0% from June 2007 totals of 15,945.

The Illinois median price in June reached $200,000, down 6.1% from $213,000 in June 2007. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

“There continues to be large local market variations statewide. Economic factors have weighed heavily on home sales activity in Illinois this summer. Low consumer confidence, higher gas and food prices, plus turmoil in the financial markets and a tighter credit market have kept some would-be buyers on the sidelines despite the fact there are great deals to be had,” said REALTORS® Kay Wirth, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS(R).

“Realtors urge Congress to pass the housing stimulus bill which includes a tax credit for first-time buyers and other policy measures that would spur the housing market and improve the health of the economy.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 6.38% in June 2008, up 0.34 points from the 6.04 average rate the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in June it averaged 6.69%.

“Median price increases were reported in June in several markets including Tazewell County, which was up 2.7%; Morgan County, up 4.8 percent; Coles County, up 5.2 percent; Macon County, up 28.0 percent; Peoria County, up 11.3 percent and Kendall County, up 5.4 percent,” said Wirth, a broker with Re/Max Unlimited Northwest in Crystal Lake.

Wirth adds: “Our focus in Illinois has to be on jobs and improving local economies so employers stay put and businesses locate in the state so people can keep their homes or take that important step up the economic ladder through homeownership.”

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) were up 10.5% in June 2008 to 7,656 sales compared to May 2008 sales of 6,929; year-over-year sales were down 27.9% from 10,612 home sales in June 2007. The Chicagoland PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $256,000 in June 2008, off 3.3% from $264,700 in June 2007. The Cook County median price was off a slight 0.9% in June at $274,500 compared to $277,000 in June 2007.

“Record oil prices continue to buffet the U.S. economy. Continued uncertainty in the financial sector is raising concerns about credit availability and the impact that this might have on both housing and industrial construction over the next 12 months,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “Forecasts for the next three months (July, August and September) suggest continuing declines in home sales compared to the same months last year. Price declines comparing year-to-year will be more moderate in Chicago at around 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent in the state.”

Sales and price information is generated from a survey of Multiple Listing Service sales reported by 35 participating Illinois REALTOR(R) local boards and associations.

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