Housing markets in Ohio and Illinois during January ran the gamut from record-breaking to cooling, according to the Realtor associations in both states.

In Ohio, home sales got off to a solid start in 2006, as statewide sales of new and existing homes totaled 7,406 last month, a 3.2 percent increase from the prior best ever of 7,175 sales posted a year earlier, the Ohio Association of Realtors reported.

“Sales activity was solid in January, with consumers continuing to take advantage of favorable interest rates and an ample supply of housing in all price categories,” said OAR President Darlene Breen. “We remain optimistic that Ohio’s real estate market, which has posted five consecutive years of record-shattering sales, will continue to enjoy solid activity in 2006. However, we’re fully aware that many housing experts are projecting that the trend of record sales levels is not expected to continue throughout the year.”

The average sale price of an Ohio home in January at $147,915 marks a 0.9 percent increase from the $146,531 average posted during the month a year ago, the association reported.

In Illinois, total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) were down 2.4 percent in January to 9,126 homes sold, compared with the all-time high for January of 9,352 homes sold in January 2005, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors’ latest report.

The Illinois median home price in January was $201,731, up 9.3 percent from $184,500 a year earlier. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

“Price appreciation continues to be favorable in Illinois while we’re beginning to see a shift to a more balanced market from one that heavily favored sellers for the last several years,” said Stan Sieron, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “We are predicting a solid year for Illinois. Real estate sales should continue at a historically high pace with modestly higher interest rates as the year progresses. Strong demand fundamentals remain in place for the Illinois housing market.”

Statewide, single-family home sales were down 2.3 percent in January to 6,268 homes sold, compared with 6,417 single-family sales in January 2005. The median single-family home price in January was $195,000, up 11.4 percent from $175,000 a year earlier.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), single-family home sales totaled 3,890 in January, down 4.8 percent from 4,085 home sales in the same month last year. The median single-family home price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $261,000, up 11.5 percent from $234,000 in January 2005.

Statewide, 2,858 condominium sales were reported in January, down 2.6 percent from 2,935 condo sales in January 2005. The condo median price for January was $211,000, up 8.2 percent from $195,000 one year ago. Condominium sales in the Chicagoland PMSA eased 2.8 percent in January 2006 to 2,763 units sold, while the condo median sales price increased 9.1 percent to $215,000. January 2005 condo sales for the Chicagoland PMSA totaled 2,842; the median price was $197,000.

“Condos continue in popularity with this year’s January condo sales the second-highest level on record for the month,” said Sieron, who is also broker-owner of Stan Sieron and Co. in Belleville.

***

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