Today we released IAR November home sales data for Illinois, the Chicagoland region and the city of Chicago. In all three markets, home sales shot up from pent-up demand, low interest rates and the tax credit incentive, which was set to expire Nov. 30 but was extended through April 30, 2010 for first-time buyers and expanded to include long-time homeowners.

Statewide, total home sales (single-family and condominiums) in November 2009 reached 10,361 homes sold, up 64.0 percent from November 2008, marking the third consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases in Illinois.

It was the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year home sales increases for the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area*, with sales up 71.6 percent in November. In the city of Chicago, November home sales were up 69.9 percent.

This absorption of inventory is good news for the housing market. As inventories shrink and prices stabilize, we will see a more balanced housing market and the strong buyer-market conditions come to an end. The last three months in Illinois has also seen a decline in home price declines, and that is a positive sign for market stabilization. Read more about prices in the University of Illinois REAL forecast.

As the holidays near and winter weather begins, we typically see home sales trail off in Illinois but this may not be the case this year. It may in fact be a good time to sell for those sellers who’ve been waiting to sell their home. Buyers have been out in force and this should continue as mortgage rates remain low (they averaged 4.93 percent in the North Central Region in November) and through April as we approach the tax credit deadline.

*The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.