19136642Statewide home sales (single-family and condominiums) totaled 32,460, a 0.3 percent increase over the same quarter last year and marked the first year-over-year quarterly gain since the first quarter of 2006, according to data released by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Sales activity in the third quarter shows compelling reasons to back the extension and expansion of the homebuyer tax credit, which President Obama signed into law on Nov. 6. The housing market has an impact well beyond the sale of a home. Each home sale transaction spurs an economic boost for moving and storage companies, the home improvement industry, inspection, legal and other services.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), third quarter home sales (including single-family and condominiums) totaled 21,298, up 2.4 percent from the third quarter of 2008. (The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.) In the city of Chicago, total home sales for the period reached 5,821, down 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Median prices were down statewide, in the PMSA and the city of Chicago reflecting the lingering effects of  distressed sales and a predominance of sales at lower entry-level prices. However, University of Illinois economist Geoff Hewings, in his recent forecast, says median prices will decline through December but at a much slower rate in all three months in both Illinois and the Chicagoland region.

Jobs continue to be a big concern for Illinois and the nation. “Having entered the recession some three to six months after the United States, the Illinois economy has proceeded to shed jobs at a faster rate than the nation over the last 12 months (5.17 percent decline as opposed to 4.23 percent nationally),” said Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL). “Illinois is now in its ninth year of recovery toward its prior employment peak of November 2000 with little prospect that this will be attained in the next six years. The economy continues to exhibit signs that the recovery from recession will be a jobless one.”

Nationally, total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condos, increased 11.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.30 million units in the third quarter from 4.76 million units in the second quarter and are now 5.9 percent above the 5.01 million-unit pace in the third quarter of 2008.