Sales of existing single-family homes in Illinois were down 3.3 percent in September from the same month a year ago, while prices continued to increase, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors latest survey.

Realtors reported 11,082 home sales last month compared to 11,460 sales in September 2003.

The median price of an existing single-family home increased 5.3 percent over the same period a year ago, to $187,500 in September 2004, from $178,100 in 2003. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

Year-to-date sales (January through September) show an overall increase of 4 percent to 97,060 homes sold compared to 93,046 sales in the first nine months of last year. The statewide average home price was up 4.9 percent to $214,400 in September 2004 compared to $204,400 during the same month in 2003.

“Home-price appreciation remains positive in Illinois and consumers still see the investment value of owning a home as a good reason to buy,” said John Veneris, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “We expect a record year in home sales even with the decline in sales in September. A more sustainable pace is anticipated for the remainder of the year and historically low interest rates will keep buyers interested.”

The statewide condominium median price for September was $194,700, up 5.8 percent from $184,100 a year ago. Condo sales statewide were down 8.2 percent to 4,771 sales in September 2004 compared to 5,199 sales in the same month last year.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, existing single-family home sales in September lagged 6 percent over last year with 7,033 sales reported compared to 7,484 homes sold in September 2003. The median existing single-family home price in the Chicagoland PMSA was $244,100, a gain of 7.5 percent from $227,100 recorded in September 2003. Similarly, condominium sales in the Chicagoland PMSA were down 8.5 percent in September 2004 to 4,562, while the median sales price increased 5.9 percent to $198,500. In September 2003, there were 4,987 condo sales for the Chicagoland PMSA; the median price was $187,500.

“With the market evening out, year-to-year price gains should remain in the single digits,” said Veneris, broker-owner of Realty Executives Pro/Team of Downers Grove and Realty Executives Realtors in Naperville. “While consumer confidence levels lowered in early fall over concerns about jobs and energy prices, the lower-than-expected interest rates, variety of financing options and price appreciation are solid fundamentals for housing.”

The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Will, Grundy and Kendall and consists of data from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois, which includes 10 associations of Realtors.

The Illinois Association of Realtors is a voluntary trade association whose 50,700 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry.

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