An inside look at Chicago real estate

December Home Sales Show Large Increase

Andrew Schroedter
   | Market News

1238 W HendersonYear-over-year home sales in Chicago closed out the year in strong fashion, climbing nearly 15 percent.

Nationwide, the picture was equally sunny.

Existing home sales jumped 12.8 percent to 4.94 million in December, from 4.38 million in the same period in 2011. What’s more, year-over-year median sale prices climbed 11.5 percent to $180,800, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In Chicago, residential sales increased 14.6 percent to 1,806 last month, versus 1,576 in December 2011. Even the long suffering condo market got a bump: Sales climbed 17.7 percent to 1,037 units, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

Signs of a sustained recovery are evident, though some observers caution the good news might be fleeting.

“The housing market is likely to experience some bumpiness in the first quarter of the year until there is resolution of the fiscal challenges in Washington and Springfield,” Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, said in a statement. ”Declining consumer confidence reflects the uncertainties; consumers are unlikely to explore major purchases, especially of houses, when tax rates, mortgage interest deductions and pension obligations remain unresolved.”

For the year, home sales in the city grew 22.4 percent to 22,333, from 18,250 in 2011. The median price, a key indicator, rose 5.7 percent to $185,000, versus $175,000 in 2011, according to IAR.

In December, the gains were more pronounced. Citywide, the median price increased 19.4 percent to $185,000, from $155,000 in December 2011, according to IAR.

“December showed positive indicators across the board at the height of the holiday season, which is typically a quiet time for home sales,” Zeke Morris, Chicago Association of Realtors president, said in a statement.