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McHenry County homes sales end year up nearly 30 percent

CRYSTAL LAKE – Existing home sales in McHenry County increased nearly 30 percent in 2013, although sales were flat in December and fell slightly in November.

Homes sales in McHenry County were up 0.3 percent to 346 in December, compared with 345 in December 2012, according to figures released Thursday by the Illinois Association of Realtors. In November, sales fell 2.9 percent year-over-year. However, annual sales increased 28.8 percent to 4,933 through December 2013 compared with 3,831 in 2012.

The median price for all homes in McHenry increased 7.9 percent to $150,000 in December, up from $139,000 in December 2012. Prices for single-family homes were up 12.9 percent to $175,000, and condo prices rose 19.5 percent to $110,500 last month. Home prices climbed 8.9 percent to $152,000 in 2013, up from $140,100 in 2012.

Despite gains, home prices in the county remained well below 2008 levels.

The number of homes for sale dropped 24.7 percent in December to 1,756, down from 2,332 in December 2012. Homes also spent less time on the market. The number of days on the market until sale was down 24.5 percent to 80, compared with 106 days in December 2012.

In Kane County, existing sales increased 5.3 percent to 534 in December, up from 507 in December 22012. That helped Kane County sales finish 2013 with sales up 21.3 percent to 7,625, compared with 6,287 in 2012. The median sales price in Kane County was $175,000 in December 2013, up 23.2 percent from $142,000 in December 2012. Through December 2013, the median price increased 14.7 percent to $164,000, compared with $143,000 in 2012.

In Lake County, homes sales were up 15.7 percent to 796 in December, an increase from 658 in December 2012. Through December 2013, sales in Lake County increased 28.4 percent to 10,705, compared with 8,334 during the same period in 2012. The median sales price in Lake County was $184,000 last month, 17.9 percent above the median price of $156,100 in December 2012. Through December 2013, prices were up 11.2 percent to $189,000, compared with $170,000 in 2012.

Statewide, home sales in December 2013 totaled 11,279 homes sold, up from 10,454 in December 2012. Year-end 2013 home sales totaled 153,492, up 18.9 percent from 129,092 in 2012. The median price in Illinois in December was $149,000, an increase of 13.7 percent from December 2012, when it was $131,000. Year-end 2013 median price hit $150,000, up 8.3 percent from $138,500 in 2012.

“Since January, Illinois has seen a steady stream of positive data, which included strong year-over-year sales and median price growth,” Illinois Association of Realtors President Phil Chiles said in a news release. “The numbers show that the housing market is a robust one heading into the new year, and consumer interest does not appear to be flagging even in the face of diminished inventories.”

Nationally, sales of existing U.S. homes edged up slightly in December, helping to lift sales for the year to the highest level in seven years.

U.S. sales increased to an annual rate of 4.87 million units last month, up 1 percent from the November sales pace, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. However, both months represented a slower pace of sales than earlier in 2013, reflecting the drag from higher mortgage rates and higher home prices.

For all of 2013, sales totaled 5.09 million, the best performance since 2006, when sales totaled 6.48 million. However, the sales gains in both 2005 and 2006 represented an unsustainable housing bubble. Analysts say a more normal sales pace currently would be around 5.5 million units.

The median price of an existing home rose 11.5 percent last year to $197,100, the highest in eight years.

Sales of previously owned homes are up 19.5 percent since 2011 but sales fell from September through November and the December level is still 9.6 percent below the summer peak.

“We lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 from disappointing job growth and limited inventory, but we ended with a year that was close to normal given the size of our population,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors.

Yun is forecasting sales will remain around the 2013 level of 5.09 million in 2014 as such factors as tighter mortgage lending standards and limited inventories impede further progress in the housing market.

Total housing inventory at the end of December was down 9.3 percent to 1.86 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.6 month supply at the December sales pace.

By region of the country, sales fell 4.3 percent in the Midwest and were down 1.3 percent in the Northeast. Sales were up 3 percent in the South and rose 4.8 percent in the West.

Over the summer, re-sales reached a pace of 5.39 million, the fastest in four years. But sales began to slow in September as the costs of buying a home rose.

Mortgage rates rose to nearly a full percentage point higher than they were in the spring, when they were at record lows. And a limited supply of homes on the market helped drive up prices. The combination of rising mortgage rates and rising prices made home buying less affordable, particularly for first-time buyers.

Builders started work on 923,000 new homes and apartments in 2013, up 18.3 percent from 2012. It was the fourth straight annual gain and the strongest construction pace since 2007 when 1.36 million homes were started. Economists are looking for further construction gains in 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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