Despite a slight dip in sales of existing single-family homes in Illinois during the third quarter, year-to-date sales were stronger than the same period in 2003, according to the latest report from the Illinois Association of Realtors.

Year-to-date home sales for the first nine months of 2004 rose 4.3 percent to a total of 97,176, compared to 93,160 in 2003.

From third-quarter data, a strong July followed by a leveling-off trend in August and September resulted in sales of existing, single-family homes in Illinois nearly equal to last year’s robust third-quarter sales. A total of 37,361 existing single-family homes were sold across the state in July through September, down 0.1 percent from 37,398 sales in the third quarter of 2003.

“Last year’s third-quarter report was the highest level of buying and selling on record in Illinois. That we’re neck-and-neck with that kind of housing activity this year says a lot about the strength of the residential resale market,” said John Veneris, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “The stabilizing forces for housing are the low-interest-rate environment and the influx of first-time buyers into the market–including singles, immigrants and minorities–who are showing an unwavering interest in home ownership.”

The Illinois median price of an existing, single-family home rose 5.9 percent to $192,500 from $181,800 during the third quarter of 2003.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), sales of existing single-family homes were down 0.6 percent in the third quarter to 23,853, compared to 23,998 homes sold in the third quarter of 2003.

However, year-to-date sales for the Chicagoland PMSA were up 4 percent to 62,117 existing-homes sold from 59,750 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 7.6 percent to $250,900 in the third quarter of 2004, compared to $233,200 in the same period last year.

Statewide, median home prices in the third quarter ranged from $497,200 in the North Shore to $50,800 in the Kewanee area. A sample of the areas that reported increases in median home sale prices in the Chicago metro region include Western Suburbs, up 8 percent to $301,100; Three Rivers (Will and Grundy counties), up 10.1 percent to $208,200; Chicago, up 9.9 percent to $225,200; Aurora, up 9.3 percent to $215,000; and the Northwest suburbs, up 13 percent to $340,400. Other areas of the state that saw median price increases include Champaign County, up 8.8 percent to $131,300; Rockford, up 4 percent to $120,900; Greater Gateway, up 4.2 percent to $107,500; Kankakee County, up 11.2 percent to $128,900; Peoria, up 5.6 percent to $105,300; Quincy, up 12.4 percent to $81,800; and Capital Area (Springfield), up 3.9 percent to $98,400.

The Illinois condominium market showed continued strength in the third quarter of 2004, up 4.4 percent from 15,251 units sold in July through September of 2003 to 15,928 in the same period of 2004. The statewide median price for condos was up 5.8 percent to $192,300, compared to $181,800 in the third quarter of 2003.

Condominium sales in the Chicago PMSA posted a 4.3 percent gain in the third quarter of 2004 to 15,182 units sold, from 14,551 in 2003. For the Chicagoland area, the median condo price was up 5.4 percent in the third quarter of this year to $196,300. It was $186,200 in 2003.

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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