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Home sales in Chicago area jump, prices ‘stabilizing’

Updated: July 2, 2012 9:23AM

Home sales in the Chicago area jumped 19 percent in April from a year earlier, while prices appeared to be stabilizing, rising in the city and dipping in the metro area. The report was in line with the national report that showed Americans are buying more homes in every region of the country, the latest indication that the housing market could be on the mend.

An increasing portion of those sales are from first-time buyers, who are critical to a housing recovery.

Sales of previously owned homes rose 3.4 percent in April from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That nearly matches January’s pace of 4.63 million — the best in two years. It is still well below the nearly 6 million that most economists equate with healthy markets.

In Chicago and the suburbs, 6,814 homes sold last month, and the median price slid 1.5 percent to $160,000, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported.

Within Chicago, home sales rose 19.4 percent to 1,750, and the median price rose 9.3 percent to $184,800.

“House prices do seem to be stabilizing,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory.

“The trend in sales is upward, and we think it has a good deal further to go over the next few months as payrolls pick up further and mortgage availability improves,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics.

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