Selling a home has gotten easier in Illinois

CHICAGO, IL- Evidence continues to pile up that the state’s housing market has begun recovering from the collapse of the housing bubble. The Illinois Association of Realtors announced yesterday that a total of 8,502 homes were sold in January, an increase of 31.1 percent over the previous January. Furthermore, the median price for homes increased to $125,000, up 1.2 percent from last year.

“The steady improvement we saw through much of 2012 seems to be continuing in 2013,” said Michael D. Oldenettel, the president of the association.  

Buyers and sellers across much of the state have gained confidence. In the nine counties that comprise the Chicago metropolitan area, for example, a total of 6,244 homes were sold, an increase of 36.8 percent. And city of Chicago homebuyers closed on 1,485 homes, an increase of 29.7 percent.    

A few dark clouds remain.

“Foreclosures continue to dampen price gains and reduce inventory levels as prospective sellers are wary of the effect these properties have on their own prospects,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

Last month, the foreclosure rate in Illinois rose to the third highest in the nation, according to RealtyTrac Inc.’s monthly U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. One in every 375 Illinois housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month, the company found.

Still, Hewings said a real recovery has begun.

“The sales volumes are impressive and with foreclosure sales continuing to outpace new additions, there is some expectation that over the next year, prices might start to move upward in some sustained fashion.”