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Chicago-area home sales, prices up in November

(MCT) — Sales of existing homes in the Chicago area continued to post strong  year-over-year gains in November and the median price of a home sold locally posted its first month-over-month improvement in five months.

The Illinois Association of Realtors said Thursday that 7,604 homes were sold in the nine-county Chicago area last month, a 36.2 percent increase from November 2011 sales of 5,582 property sales.

The median price of $155,000 was a 3.4 percent gain from the $149,900 reported in November 2011.

This year, the median selling price peaked at $181,750 in June and has been on a downward trajectory ever since then. However, November's sales price was a 1.3 percent gain from October, the first month-over-month gain since June.

In the city of Chicago, home sales rose 22.5 percent from a year ago, to 1,750 homes sold, and the sales increase for condominiums was even greater. The 1,047 condos sold in November represented a 36.2 percent increase in volume from a year ago.

Meanwhile, the median price of a Chicago home rose 14.6 percent in November from a year ago, to $180,000.

The median price means half the homes sold were for more and half for less.

"We are encouraged by positive trends we're seeing across the Chicago market," said Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors. "We also saw a decrease in market days, signaling greater confidence among buyers who are picking up attractively priced homes while they can."

Separately, housing data provider CoreLogic reported that foreclosure rates in the Chicago area decreased to 5.7 percent of outstanding mortgage loans in October, a decline of 0.84 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of mortgages that were 90 days or more past due fell to 10.19 percent, compared with 10.6 percent in October 2011.

Still, the Chicago housing market's recovery continues to lag behind the country as a whole. Nationally, 3.06 percent of homes are in foreclosure and 6.53 percent of mortgages are seriously delinquent.

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