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Home sales stay on upward trend

Remember when the monthly sales reports from the Illinois Association of REALTORS® brought only bad news? Those days seem long gone.

The Chicago housing market still has a long way to go before condominium and single-family-home prices completely recover from the economic struggles of 2008 and beyond. But home sales and now median sales prices in the city have been on the rise for several months, according to the numbers released by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

And the best news? This positive trend is showing few signs of reversing course any time soon.

According to the latest report from the REALTORS® association, home sales and median prices in Chicago both rose again in December 2012.

The numbers show that the city saw year-over-year home sales jump 14.6 percent in December. A total of 1,806 home sales took place in Chicago during that month. That’s up significantly from the 1,576 home sales the city saw during the same month in 2011.

Maybe the best news for home sellers, though, is the continued upward trajectory of median sales prices. It’s important to note that median sales prices aren’t the same as the average sales price. The median price represents the point at which half of homes sold for more and half for less.

In December of 2012, the median price of a home in Chicago rose to $185,000. That’s up 19.4 percent when compared to the same month in 2011, when the median price in Chicago came in at $175,000.

Not all economists, though, are certain that this recovery period will continue, in Chicago or across the nation. The national economy still faces challenges that could potentially derail a housing recovery.

The REALTORS® association quoted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, who said that the continued inability of Congress to solve the fiscal challenges facing the country is leading to consumers who still lack confidence. Consumers who aren’t confident aren’t as likely to spend money on a purchase as large as a new home.

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