Continued strong demand for home ownership drove Illinois home sales to an all-time high in 2005, with a slower pace in the last quarter, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

Total home sales, which include single-family homes and condominiums, were up 2 percent in Illinois in 2005, according to a year-end analysis by the association. In 2005, a total of 183,123 homes were sold across the state, compared with 179,549 sales in 2004.

IAR’s latest report showed that 40,817 homes were sold across the state in the fourth quarter, down 1.5 percent from 41,442 sales in the fourth quarter of 2004.

“The Illinois housing market continues to be a solid driver of the state’s economy and, in 2006, Realtors anticipate strong demand for home ownership and favorable price appreciation,” said Stan Sieron, IAR president. “Home sales in Illinois tend to follow a seasonal trend with the strongest months being April through September, so it’s no surprise that fourth-quarter activity over the holiday months was slower than previous periods. For the quarter, rates inched up above 6 percent and this combined with mild job and economic growth factored in as well to home buyer decisions.”

The fourth quarter interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.32 percent in the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Single-family home sales for the quarter were down 4.6 percent to 28,010 homes sold from 29,351 in Q4 2004. The median price of a single-family home during the fourth quarter of 2005 was up 13.3 percent to $204,000, compared with $180,000 last year in the same period.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), sales of single-family homes were down 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter to 17,656, compared with 18,106 home sales in 2004. The median price of single-family homes sold in the Chicagoland PMSA increased 10.5 percent to $265,000 in the fourth quarter of 2005 compared with $239,900 in the same period one year ago. The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

In the fourth quarter of 2005, a sample of the counties in the Chicagoland PMSA that reported year-to-year price appreciation for single-family homes include Cook, up 12.6 percent to $259,000; DeKalb, up 6.6 percent to $183,402; DuPage, up 12.4 percent to $335,000; Grundy, up 3.9 percent to $202,500; Kane, up 13.2 percent to $248,000; Kendall, up 9.4 percent to $267,500; Lake, up 13.9 percent to $295,000; McHenry up 4.2 percent to $250,000; and Will, up 9.9 percent to $244,000.

A sample of counties around the state that saw single-family median price increases in the fourth quarter includes Champaign, up 6.9 percent to $142,660; Saint Clair, up 10.8 percent to $120,750; LaSalle, up 17.3 percent to $132,500; Jo Davies, up 27 percent to $190,500; Macon, up 9.7 percent to $85,000; Tazewell, up 10 percent to $109,950; Rock Island, up 4.2 percent to $92,000; Winnebago, up 1.7 percent to $121,950; and McLean, up 5.2 percent to $161,000.

The Illinois condominium market showed continued strength in 2005, with 57,159 units sold — a 9.8 percent increase from 52,072 units sold in 2004. The Chicago PMSA posted a 9.6 percent increase in 2005 to 54,993 units sold compared with 50,162 in 2004. Fourth-quarter condo sales across the state were up 8.7 percent to 12,807 condos sold compared with 12,091 in 2004. In the Chicago PMSA, condo sales increased 8.8 percent to 12,290 units sold during the fourth quarter of 2005, compared with 11,636 in the same period of 2004.

The median price for a condominium in Illinois was $205,000 for the year, up 8 percent from $189,900 in 2004. For the Chicago PMSA, the annual median condo price increased 8.7 percent in 2005 to $209,830. It was $193,000 in 2004. Fourth-quarter 2005 condo prices were $205,500 statewide (up 7.6 percent) and $210,000 in the Chicago area (up 7.7 percent).

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