Home sales in Illinois rose double digits in fourth-quarter 2011 over the year-ago period, while the state’s median price dwindled, reflecting the downward pressure distressed sales continue to have on property values.

Statewide home sales, including single-family residences and condominiums, rose 14.8% in 4Q to 25,394 from 22,114 a year earlier, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors. The median home price fell 10.8% to $128,000 from $143,500 a year ago.

The fourth-quarter interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4% in the state’s North Central region, according to the Freddie Mac, down from 4.31% in the third quarter and from 4.44% a year ago in 2010.

“Looking forward, there is the likelihood that there will be year-over-year sales gains in the state through the first quarter of 2012,” said Geoffrey Hewings, director of the regional economics applications laboratory at the University of Illinois. “While we are seeing the time on market for homes decline to less than 10 months, the large foreclosure inventory could create some challenges in the housing market this year.” 

For the year, Illinois home sales remained even with 2010, slipping only 0.1% with 103,785 homes sold versus 103,899 in 2010, according to the IAR. The year-end statewide median price declined 9.2% to $137,500 from $151,500 in 2010.

In Chicago, total home sales in the fourth quarter grew 11.1% to 4,225 sales compared to 3,804 sales a year earlier. The Windy City’s median price slid 8.6% to $159,999 from $175,000 in fourth quarter 2010.

For the full year, home sales totaled 17,715 in Chicago, sliding 7.2% from 19,089 sales in 2010. The year-end citywide median price for 2011 was $175,000, down 13.8% from $203,000 in 2010.


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