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Home prices and sales in Chicago area drop in February

Updated: March 21, 2011 9:48PM

Median home prices in the Chicago metropolitan area fell 7.6 percent in February from a year earlier, and sales dropped 8.8 percent, the Illinois Association of Realtors said Monday.

The median price of single family homes and condominiums fell to $152,500, down from $165,000. Since January, prices dropped 3.5 percent.

Sales totaled 3,769 in February, down from 4,134 a year earlier and down 2 percent from January.

In the city of Chicago, the median price edged up 0.6 percent last month from February 2010 to $177,500. Prices rose 4.2 percent since January this year. Sales dropped 13.8 percent over the year to 1,056, but rose 2.1 percent since January.

Statewide, the median price fell 4.6 percent in February from a year earlier to $128,800 and dropped 5.3 percent since January this year. Sales sank 10 percent to 5,575 since February 2010 and edged up 1.3 percent since January this year.

Housing price forecasts for Illinois and the Chicago area show month-to-month increases in March, April and May, but that’s still lower than last year during the same period, Geoffrey Hewings, director of the University of Illinois’ Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, said in a statement.

“Sales are forecast to decline year-over-year for the next three months,” due to the impact of the home buyer tax credit, which inflated the market last year and is no longer available, he said.

A strong labor market will be the key to a housing market recovery, he noted. Illinois added 75,200 jobs in February from a year earlier, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said last week. But the unemployment rate remains high at 8.9 percent.

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