It's still a buyers' market in Illinois. According to a recent report by the ""Illinois Association of Realtors"":http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/ (IAR), January marked the fifth consecutive month of growth in year-over-year home sales, while the statewide median price logged its first move upward since September 2007.[IMAGE]
In January 2010, Illinois home sales, which include single-family homes and condominiums, totaled 5,483 transactions, up 14 percent from total sales in January 2009. During the same period, the median price rose slightly to $145,300, inching up only 0.2 percent from the previous year.
According to the IAR report, total home sales were up in 34 of 99 Illinois counties from January 2009 to January 2010, including Jo Daviess, up 44.4 percent; Cook, up 35.8 percent; McHenry, up 28.8 percent; DuPage, up 25.3 percent; Lake, up 18.4 percent; LaSalle, up 15.6 percent; Sangamon, up 5.8 percent; and Will, up 5.4 percent.
""We are seeing an accelerated spring market despite the snow and cold in Illinois with the homebuyer tax credit the driving factor for rising home sales,"" said Mike Onorato, president of the IAR. ""Current conditions remain favorable for buyers with interest rates still hovering near 5 percent and just over two months remaining to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credits.""
In the Chicagoland primary metropolitan statistical area (PMSA), January represented the seventh consecutive month of increases in year-over-year home sales. With 3,922 homes sold in January 2010, sales in this area were up 29.2 percent from 12 months earlier. In addition, the median price for homes sold in the Chicagoland PMSA was $175,000, down 5.4 percent from January 2009.
In the city of Chicago itself, January home sales totaled 1,202 transactions, up 31.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. During the same period, the city's median price fell 4.9 percent to $195,000.
""2010 has started off with an increase in the number of units sold in January over the same period in 2009,"" said Genie Birch, president of the ""Chicago Association of Realtors."":http://www.chicagorealtor.com/ ""We remain hopeful that while distressed properties are being absorbed, homebuyers on the fence will take advantage of the extended and expanded homebuyer tax credit, and consider this a great time to buy a home. While the greatest hurdle is still securing financing, the current market has tremendous opportunities for homebuyers and investors looking to expand their portfolios.""
According to Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the ""Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois"":http://www.real.illinois.edu/, there is evidence that median price increases will moderate in Illinois over the next three months, remaining about the same as those a year earlier. In Chicago, though, he said median prices will be about 6 percent below comparable prices. On an annual basis, Hewings forecasts statewide sales to increase between 1 percent and 14 percent, and in the city of Chicago, he predicts sales will increase between 18 percent and 50 percent.