April Illinois Home Sales Signal Buyers Getting Off the Sidelines Statewide Sales Up 9 Percent; Median Price at $150,000


Springfield, IL – May 27, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — The Illinois housing market posted its third consecutive month of home sales increases over the previous month helped by record low interest rates and buyer incentives including the homebuyer tax credit and improved affordability. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest report, total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) were up 9.0 percent in April 2009 to 7,593 homes compared to 6,968 homes sold in March 2009. Overall, home sales were down 20.9 percent from April 2008 sales of 9,599.

The Illinois median price in April 2009 was $150,000, holding about even with $149,900 in March 2009; it was down 18.9 percent from $185,000 in April 2008. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

“Illinois home sales are showing some signs of life as people take advantage of the favorable buyer’s market conditions and the federal stimulus package incentives,” said REALTOR® Pat Callan, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. “Those waiting on the sidelines should act now while the window of opportunity is still open and before mortgage interest rates rise above these lows. The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit ends December 1, 2009, and we anticipate details soon to be released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allowing FHA consumers to use this credit as a down payment at the closing table.”

Adds Callan: “Some areas in Illinois continue to strain under increasing foreclosures, and REALTORS® urge leaders in Congress and state government to employ further measures to help struggling homeowners and improve our current detrimentally restrictive lending environment.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.85 percent in April 2009, down 0.30 points from the 5.15 average rate during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in April it averaged 5.94 percent.

“For the second month in a row, several indicators pointed to a slowing of the negative trends in the housing market,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “For the last two months there has been evidence of a modest recovery in both housing prices and sales fueled by consumers’ sentiments that the economy may have bottomed out as well as historically low mortgage interest rates. The market has certainly been helped by record low mortgage rates at the beginning of May; even though these rates have climbed a little, they are still at or around 5 percent, down from 6 percent a year ago.”

Adds Hewings: “For the housing market, the recovery in jobs is key to a sustained housing rebound. Illinois’ official unemployment rate in April was 9.4 percent, the highest rate since August 1983.”

In the Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales were up 11.4 percent to 4,745 homes sold in April 2009 compared to 4,261 home sales in March 2009; sales were down 22.1 percent from 6,094 home sales in April 2008.

The median home sale price for the Chicago PMSA was $192,500 in April 2009, off a slight 0.8 percent from $194,000 in March 2009; the median price was down 21.1 percent from $244,000 in April 2008.

In the city of Chicago, April total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were up 16.7 percent to 1,378 sales compared to March 2009 sales of 1,181; sales were down 26.9 percent from 1,886 in April 2008. The city of Chicago median price remained unchanged at $220,000 in April and March 2009; the city of Chicago median price in April was down 26.7 percent from $300,000 in April 2008.

“We continue to see homes in foreclosure and short sales driving prices lower in many areas of the city,” said David Hanna, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. “Policy changes such as allowing first-time homebuyers to use the $8,000 tax credit at closing and a streamlined process for short sales will help, but the critical issues are the rising numbers of foreclosures and restrictive lending guidelines not crafted for our urban market. The federal loan modification program has not yet slowed the pace of foreclosures, a must for turning housing around in the Chicago metropolitan area. Regulators and lenders need guidance and latitude in creating a lending environment that addresses regional and in particular urban housing differences. That is not happening right now, and our numbers reflect the result.”

According to the IAR report, median home sale prices comparing April 2009 to the same month in 2008 were up in 36 of 100 Illinois counties reporting including Jefferson, up 13.3 percent to $86,700; LaSalle, up 4.7 percent to $112,000; Logan, up 7.0 percent to $82,900; Rock Island, up 10.7 percent to $97,900; Sangamon, up 0.9 percent to $107,950; Vermilion, up 22.1 percent to $70,837; and Williamson, up 24.0% to $105,387.

Sales and price information is generated from a survey of Multiple Listing Service sales reported by 37 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose 53,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation that safeguards and advances the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois market stats data at www.illinoisrealtor.org, click on Market Stats.


Illinois RealEstateRama is an Internet based Real Estate News and Press Release distributor chanel of RealEstateRama for Illinois Real Estate publishing community.

RealEstateRama staff editor manage to selection and verify the real estate news for State of Illinois.


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