(Springfield, IL) — May 14, 2010. The state’s housing market is going through a period of fluctuation marked by rising foreclosure rates along with an uptick in housing sales, according to two separate reports released this week.
A report by housing industry company RealtyTrac Inc. indicated that 18,870 properties in Illinois received a foreclosure filing in April 2010, the fourth-highest figure among all states.
The state experienced a hike of more than 38 percent in foreclosure activity this April as compared to April 2009, while overall nationwide foreclosure activity dropped by 2.4 percent.
Illinois avoided the brunt of initial foreclosures that was caused in large part by speculative loans and markets, according to Daren Blomquist, spokesman for RealtyTrac.
“What we’re calling a second wave of foreclosures is being caused now by underlying economic issues, namely unemployment, higher unemployment, which is driving more foreclosures in states like Illinois,” Blomquist said.
One of out every 280 properties in Illinois received a foreclosure filing this April, as compared to one out of every 387 properties in the United States.
Blomquist said because Illinois was about a year behind the initial foreclosure wave, he expected the state’s rising rate of foreclosures to begin to hit a plateau next year.
But the state’s housing market may be in line for a turnaround, according to statistics compiled by the Illinois Association of Realtors.
A recent IAR report indicated that home sales in Illinois totaled 21,242 in the first quarter of 2010, a 23.5 percent increase from the same time period last year.
Mike Onorato, president of the IAR and owner of a realty company in Coal City, attributed the uptick in sales to a federal tax credit for people buying their first homes.
“What happened as a result of all these increases in sales is that we did see first-time homebuyers represent a large percentage of that. So therefore, the price points at which first-time homebuyers buy is going to be typically the lower end of value in a typical marketplace. They are not the more expensive homes, they’re the more starter homes,” he said.
The statewide median home price stayed close to constant between the first quarters of 2010 and 2009. During the first quarter of 2010, the median price was $144,600, compared to $145,000 in 2009.
The state saw total home sales, which includes single-family homes and condominiums, increase in 54 of 99 counties in the first quarter of 2010 as compared to the same period in 2009.
Median home prices rose in 43 of 99 counties during those same two time periods.
Seven counties saw an increase in both home sales and median home prices: Grundy, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Madison, Rock Island and Sangamon.
Onorato said the increases in the rate of foreclosures as well as housing sales present “mixed news” for the state’s housing industry going forward.
“We’re going to be looking to see how unemployment numbers do because we think that’s going to be real critical. But if we can see a continued rise in consumer confidence, we think that will bode very will for the future of our industry,” he said.
–Kevin Lee, Illinois Statehouse News