The tax credit stimulus and low interest rates have helped to reduce housing inventories through the end of 2009 while half of Illinois counties reporting also showed median price increases in December, up from 40 percent of counties in November—all good signs that the Illinois housing market is stabilizing.

According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest report, statewide total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) in December 2009 were up 20.1 percent, totaling 8,197 homes sold compared to December 2008 sales of 6,823 homes, marking the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases statewide. The median price in December 2009 was $152,000 down 1.9 percent from $155,000 in December 2008.

In the Chicagoland area, sales were up the full second half of the year, although sales of foreclosed homes and short sales—a situation where the homeowner owes more than he can sell the home for on the market—are still exerting downward pressure on prices.

Economist Geoff Hewings with the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications laboratory says in his forecast: “The continuation of positive changes in annual sales data recorded in the last three months of 2009 is forecast to continue through the first quarter of 2010 and there is evidence to suggest that median prices might be starting to inch upwards.”

“In 2009, we saw demand primarily for lower-priced homes from first-time buyers in addition to short sales and sales of foreclosed homes,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® in the report. “There is opportunity now for the move-up buyer to take advantage of the tax credit that ends April 30 and lower mortgage interest rates, which many analysts expect to rise by mid-year.” 

Here is a snapshot from the IAR December data released today for total home sales (single-family and condominiums comparing December 2009 to December 2008):

  • Illinois home sales ↑20.1%
  • Illinois median price $152,000 ↓1.9%
  • Chicagoland PMSA home sales ↑33.1%
  • Chicagoland PMSA median price $183,000  ↓10.4%
  • City of Chicago home sales  ↑39.8%
  • City of Chicago median price $210,000  ↓10.6%

Half of Illinois counties reporting in December had both sales AND median price increases including these:

  • Champaign County sales ↑16.3%, median price ↑20.7% to $157,500
  • Logan County sales ↑20.8%, median price ↑14.1% to $85,000
  • Rock Island County sales ↑1.2%, median price ↑5.2% to $87,550
  • Sangamon County sales ↑24.2, median price ↑33.0% to $128,000
  • Tazewell County sales ↑3.0%, median price ↑1.6% to $126,950