Sales of existing single-family homes in Illinois were up 3.3 percent in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year, according to the latest report from the Illinois Association of Realtors. A total of 22,407 existing single-family homes were sold across the state, up from 21,691 sales in the first quarter of 2003. 

Robust sales in March helped lift home sales to positive gains in the first quarter despite slower sales in January and February, according to state Realtors.

“Realtors experienced slower sales up until March, when spring fever hit and fence-sitters got in the market while interest rates were still below 6 percent,” said John C. Kmiecik, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “This activity is expected to continue in the short term as buyers find that rates are still attractive and demand remains strong. Given the growing strength of the economy and positive job growth, the long-term picture for housing remains favorable.”

Statewide, the existing single-family median home sale price rose 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2004 to $165,000, compared to $160,300 in the same period of 2003. The IAR survey covers non-seasonally adjusted median prices for existing, detached single-family homes and condos sold in 34 local association markets throughout Illinois.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), sales of existing single-family homes rose 2.1 percent in the first quarter to 14,125, compared to 13,838 home sales in 2003. The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Will, Grundy and Kendall.

The median price of existing single-family homes sold in the Chicagoland PMSA increased 6.7 percent to $221,000 in the first quarter of 2004, compared to $207,100 in the same period one year ago.

Statewide, home prices in the first quarter ranged from $495,700 in the North Shore to $28,900 in the Kewanee area (Mid Valley Association of Realtors). A sample of the areas that reported year-to-year price appreciation in the Chicago metro region include Elgin, up 5.5 percent to $197,700; Chicago, up 10.6 percent to $186,100; McHenry posted $225,500, up 5 percent; West Towns, up 10.7 percent to $189,800; and Aurora up 2 percent to $190,900. A sample of areas around the state that saw median price increases includes Belleville Area, up 3.9 percent to $87,200; Rockford, up 4.4 percent to $108,100; Kankakee, up 6.2 percent to $101,700 and Illini Valley, up 2.5 percent to $82,200.

The first-quarter 2004 Illinois Housing Affordability Index stood at 182, compared to the index of 181 during the first quarter of 2003. The affordability index measures the ability of a typical four-person family to purchase a median-priced existing single-family residence. For example, the annual index reveals that a family earning the statewide median income (for a four-person family) of $66,507 had 182 percent of the income needed to qualify for conventional financing covering 80 percent of a home priced at the median price of $165,000.

The Illinois condominium market continues to show strength, posting 9,670 units sold in the first quarter of 2004, a 6.7 percent increase over 2003 figures of 9,063 units sold for the same period. The statewide median price for condos was up 7 percent to $181,900, compared to $170,000 in the first quarter of 2003.

The Chicago PMSA saw a 6.5 percent increase in condominium sales in the first quarter of 2004 to 9,075 units sold, from 8,524 in 2003. For the Chicagoland area, the median condo price rose 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2004 to $185,000, compared to $172,200 in 2003. 

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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