The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Upswing in Illinois and Cook County Home Sales

By Kalyn Belsha in News on Apr 25, 2009 9:45PM

After a dismal past six months for the housing market, real estate agents say they are finally starting to see marked increased activity.

According to March data released Thursday by the Illinois Association of Realtors, Illinois showed an increase in the sale of single-family homes and condos for the second month in a row. And for the first time since last June, the median price of a home in Illinois rose over the last month's price -- to $149,995 in March from February's $140,700.

Cook County saw among the biggest growth in home sales over the last month, with a 38 percent increase. But agents say they are staying realistic. That 38 percent gain only represents 2,409 properties sold, down from the 3,432 homes that sold in March 2008.

Realtors are attributing the boost to a number of factors, including the new $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time buyers before Dec. 1 and low interest rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, which was 4.9 percent as of Friday. Home prices have also gotten more realistic, Chicago realty agents say, as sellers are trying to keep their prices competitive with the lower ones being offered on foreclosed and short sold properties. [Tribune]