Home buyers continued to snap up properties in the Chicago area last month, taking advantage of low mortgage interest rates and low prices in the market.
Sales of existing homes in the nine-county Chicago area rose 28.5 percent from a year ago, to 7,188 homes sold, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.
Efforts to work foreclosed properties through the system, however, continues to be a drag on pricing. The median price of a home sold in the Chicago area last month was $170,000, a decline of 3.8 percent from August 2011.
Counties that did benefit from year-over-year median-price gains last month included Kendall County, up 3.3 percent and Will, up 1.6 percent.
Within the city of Chicago, existing-home sales rose 23.6 percent from a year ago, to 2,209 properties sold while the median price rose 3.9 percent, to $200,000.
While the number of condos sold during the month rose 35.9 percent to 1,396 units sold, the median price slipped 1.4 percent, to $239,000.
On a month-over-month basis, median prices within the city of both single-family homes and condos have now dropped for two consecutive months.
For the entire market, at the current rate of sales it would take less than three years to sell the homes now on the market, down from 3.28 years in the spring, according to Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, a University of Illinois economist.
Interest rates continue to favor buyers. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the Chicago area last month was 3.60 percent, up from July but still well below the August 2011 average of 4.26 percent, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.
Also on Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said its weekly survey of 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages hit a new low, to 3.72 percent and 3.03 percent, respectively.
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