Quick Monday: Chicago real-estate round-up

Home prices and sales increase from March to April

[prnewswire.com and chicagotribune.com]

Depending on where you go to for your Chicago real estate news, you might think there’s some conflicting headlines and findings. According to a press release from the Illinois Association of Realtors, home prices have increased from March to April, and the numbers agree. The median home price was $130,000 in March 2011, and the cost of a home sold rose 4.7% to $136,066 in April 2011.

Yet, the Chicago Tribune claims that home sales have fallen 19% in April. So that sounds like the two statistics conflict, right? Except the Tribune was looking at year-over-year numbers–comparing April 2011 to April 2010–rather than comparing month to month. So the housing market is improving, just as long as you look at the numbers from this year alone.

While home prices aren’t near where they were last year–mainly due to the fact that there were federal home buying credits last year–things are improving. “Market forces are steadily improving and factors for rising home sales are developing,” reports Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors.

Even so, some of the numbers do seem discouraging, particularly in Chicago. Compared to last year at this time, home prices dropped a whopping 26.2% with just 1,462 homes sold. In April 2011, the median home price was also down 8.7% since last year, averaging $205,500. Part of this downward year-over-year trend is that there are fewer first-time home buyers on the market, despite low home prices. In April, first-time buyers made up only 35.7% of the market, nearly a 7% drop since last year.

In April 2011, 5,710 homes were sold in total. Analysts do expect the number of homes sold to increase at a monthly rate of 8% to 17% in Chicago, similar to the improvement from March to April 2011.

Other Top News:

Lenders continue to hold onto foreclosed homes [nytimes.com]

Nearly half of Chicago homeowners are underwater [Chicago Foreclosure Lawyer Blog]

2010 U.S. census shows blacks are moving away from city [USA Today]

What Rahm Emanuel should do for Chicago real estate [Chicago Sun-Times]

Despite price reductions, Frank Lloyd Wright homes aren’t selling [MSN Real Estate]

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