Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Midwest real estate markets post mixed results

Home prices continue to climb

Housing markets in Illinois and Ohio posted mixed results in March, but maintained near-record sales levels, according to the Realtor associations in both states.

In Ohio, home sales reached 11,929 in March, a 5.9 percent increase from the 11,261 sales recorded during the month last year, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. The month's average sales price of $148,517 is a 3.6 percent increase over the March 2004 average sales price of $143,411.

Ohio's first-quarter sales of new and existing homes totaled 27,488, a 6 percent increase from the prior record of 25,940 sales posted during the period in 2004.

The state's average sale price (January-March) of $147,172 marks a 4.5 percent increase from the $140,830 average posted during the period a year ago.

In Illinois, March single-family home sales totaled 9,657, down 1.6 percent from 9,817 sales in March 2004 (a historic high for March Illinois home sales). The median price of a single-family home in March 2005 was $184,500, up 10.5 percent from $167,000 in 2004, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

Year-to-date, Illinois home sales are off a scant 0.4 percent, from 22,696 homes sold in the first three months of 2004 to 22,602 sales for the same period in 2005.

"Illinois Realtors typically see signs of the spring housing market early in March but the nudge up in mortgage interest rates and higher oil and gas prices factored in to this late start," said John Veneris, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. "Housing inventories are improving, however, which also will ease prices and help rebalance the market. Buyers should have more choices in the coming months."

A total of 4,502 condominium sales were sold in Illinois in March, up 8.3 percent from 4,156 sales in the same month last year. The statewide condominium median price for March was $200,700, up 8.5 percent from $185,000 one year ago.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), single-family home sales totaled 5,874, down 2.1 percent from 5,998 home sales in March 2004. The median single-family home price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $249,000, up 9 percent from $228,500 in March 2004.

Condominium sales in the Chicagoland PMSA rose 8.2 percent in March to 4,373 units sold, while the condominium median sales price increased 9.6 percent to $205,000. In March 2004 condo sales for the Chicagoland PMSA totaled 4,040 and the median price was $187,000.

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