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Old 05-12-2006, 08:32 PM
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Post Illinois real estate sales pick up

Sales of Illinois single-family homes and condos rose 2.1 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago, and home prices grew at an even stronger pace, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported today.

A total of 34,030 single-family homes and condos were sold across the state in the first quarter, compared with 33,318 sales in the same period in 2005. The median home price came in at $197,381 in the first quarter, up 5.6 percent from first-quarter 2005.

"The unusually mild winter months helped boost home sales in the first part of the year, while Realtors expect a more moderate pace later in the year as mortgage rates slowly rise," said Stan Sieron, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. "Following four consecutive record-breaking years for housing in Illinois, the fundamentals for a solid 2006 are in place. Inventory levels are up, mortgage rates are still historically low, and first-quarter indicators show continued economic growth in our region."

The first-quarter interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.33 percent in the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Sales gains were reported in 54 of 100 Illinois counties reporting in the first quarter; 52 counties reported an increase in median sales price for the same period, according to IAR.

Single-family home sales for the first quarter were up 3.1 percent to 23,438 homes sold from 22,727 in the same period of 2005. The median price of a single-family home during the first quarter of 2006 was up 5.6 percent to $187,961 compared with $178,000 last year.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), sales of single-family homes were down 1.4 percent in the first quarter to 13,655, compared with 13,846 home sales in 2005. The median price of single-family homes sold in the Chicagoland PMSA increased 9.2 percent to $262,000 in the first quarter of 2006 compared with $240,000 in the same period one year ago. The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

A sample of the counties in the Chicagoland PMSA that reported year-to-year price appreciation for single-family homes includes Cook, up 10.7 percent to $256,000; DeKalb, up 7 percent to $200,000; DuPage, up 9.5 percent to $333,000; Kane, up 11.1 percent to $250,600; Kendall, up 4.4 percent to $265,000; Lake, up 11 percent to $276,450; McHenry, up 6.9 percent to $253,808; and Will, up 9 percent to $239,900.

A sample of counties around the state that saw single-family median price increases includes Adams, up 6.3 percent to $80,000; Champaign, up 1.4 percent to $134,900; Kankakee, up 7.1 percent to $124,250; McLean, up 3.4 percent to $146,000; Peoria, up 4.4 percent to $95,000; St. Clair, up 12.8 percent to $118,450; Sangamon, up 5 percent to $104,900; Tazewell, up 8.9 percent to $108,900; Williamson, up 14.7 percent to $90,650; and Winnebago, up 4.2 percent to $123,500.

The Illinois condominium market posted 10,592 units sold in the first quarter of 2006, virtually unchanged from 2005 figures of 10,591 units sold for the same period. The statewide median condo price increased 4.4 percent to $210,000, compared with $201,100 in the first quarter of 2005.

The Chicago PMSA saw condominium sales in the first quarter of 2006 nearly even with last year's major gains for this housing stock, easing a slight 0.6 percent in 2006 to 10,196 units sold from 10,254 in the first quarter of 2005. For the Chicagoland area, the median condo price increased 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2006 to $215,000, compared with $205,000 in 2005.

"Illinois remains among the more stable housing markets in the country with continued modest but favorable price appreciation and continued demand from single buyers, second-home buyers and immigrant populations," Sieron said. "Realtors expect this year to perhaps be the second-best year for real estate sales in Illinois."

Sales data is generated from a survey of 36 local Realtor associations throughout the state.

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