Real estate sales in Ohio and Illinois cooled for the fifth straight month in August, as rising for-sale inventory sent home prices falling, according to statistics provided by Realtor associations in both states.

In Ohio, sales of new and existing homes last month totaled 14,455, down 7.3 percent from the record 15,590 sales posted during the same month a year ago, the Ohio Association of Realtors reported.

The month’s average sales price of $159,184 is a 3.5 percent decrease from $164,978 posted a year ago, and is down from July’s median of $160,985.

“There are a number of factors contributing to the recent cooling of the Ohio housing market, including fluctuating interest rates, higher energy costs and less-than-robust economic growth throughout the Buckeye State,” said Darlene Breen, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors.

In Illinois, total homes sales (which include single-family and condominiums) were down 13.7 percent in August to 17,276 homes sold, compared with 20,018 sales in August 2005.

The Illinois median home sale price in August was $210,900, off 1.9 percent from $214,900 a year earlier. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

“Last year at this time we were experiencing record home sales and a tight supply. Now Realtors are reporting more homes on the market, which means improved opportunities for buyers, especially with the recent dip in interest rates,” said Robert Zoretich, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “The Illinois housing market should experience a soft landing as we slow down from last year’s record-breaking sales pace….”

By category, Illinois single-family home sales totaled 11,812 in August, down 15 percent from 13,893 single-family homes sold in August 2005. The median single-family home price in August was $206,700, off 4.3 percent from $216,000 a year earlier.

Statewide, 5,464 condominium sales were reported in August 2006, down 10.8 percent from 6,125 condo sales in August 2005. The condo median price for August was $217,200, up 3.4 percent from $210,000 one year ago.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), single-family home sales totaled 6,966 in August, down 20.9 percent from 8,811 home sales in the same month last year. The median single-family home price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $280,000, about even with the $279,900 median price in August 2005.

Condominium sales in the Chicagoland PMSA were off 11 percent in August to 5,220 units sold, compared with 5,868 sales a year earlier, and the condo median sales price increased 3.7 percent during the period, rising to $222,950 from $215,000.

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