More jobs—at the level of 150,000 to 250,000 nationally each month—is what’s needed for the housing market recovery, says Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois in his latest Illinois housing market forecast.

The links between jobs, consumer confidence and the housing market are inextricable.

Consumer confidence in October dipped to 39.8 percent from 46.4 in September. Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, stated in the release: “Consumer expectations, which had improved in September, gave back all of the gain and then some as concerns about business conditions, the labor market and income prospects increased.”

Home  sales are moving in a positive direction. The Illinois Association of REALTORS® third quarter home sales report shows sales up 19.9 percent compared to the same period a year ago and this trend in sales gains is anticipated to continue through the fourth quarter.  Still, median prices are trending down, off 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and likewise this will continue through the fourth quarter.

“While median prices continue to trend downwards, there is some indication of increased demand as inventory levels in certain price ranges have been shrinking,” said Hewings. “In the third quarter, 64.1 percent of homes were sold in the price range under $200,000.”

Illinois Price Stratification Chart - Third Quarter 2011