The Illinois housing market’s spring season came in like a lion in March as existing single-family home sales were up 11.5 percent, while the statewide median home-sale price increased 3.5 percent compared to the same period one year ago, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.

Statewide sales of existing homes in March totaled 9,577, an 11.5 percent increase from the 8,589 sales posted during March 2003. The March 2004 results are the highest March sales reported on record since the association began reporting statistics in 1990. The median existing single-family home price increased from $164,200 in March 2003 to $170,000 in March 2004.

“The itch to get homes ready for spring appeared earlier than expected this year as March activity in the Illinois housing market was the strongest yet on record,” said John C. Kmiecik, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “People continue to capitalize on the lower interest rates, as well as the solid home-price appreciation, two factors that help explain the housing market’s continued momentum.”

The Illinois condominium market also posted double-digit sales with a 16.5 percent increase in sales (4,345) reported for March compared to 3,729 condos sold in March 2003. The condominium median price for the period was up 6.2 percent to $183,700, compared to $172,900 during March 2003.

Chicago and its suburbs also saw a surge in existing single-family home sales in March with sales in the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) up 8.8 percent to 6,040 compared to 5,551 homes sold in March 2003. The median price of existing single-family homes sold in the Chicago PMSA rose 7.2 percent to $226,200 in March 2004, compared to $211,000 registered for the same time a year ago. Echoing the condo boom statewide, condominium sales for the Chicagoland PMSA increased 16.2 percent in March 2004 to 4,109 compared to 3,532 in 2003. The median price for condominiums also marked significant gains, up 6.8 percent from $174,800 in March of last year to $186,700 in March 2004.

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 Realtors associations.

The Illinois Association of Realtors is a voluntary trade association whose 49,800 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry.

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Send tips, feedback or a letter to the editor to dave@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 138.

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