Friday, November 12, 2004

Chicago housing market cools off

Chicago housing market cools off

Tribune staff report
Published November 12, 2004, 10:44 AM CST

The local housing market is slowing after a frenetic spring and early summer.

The September pace of Chicago-area home sales was down 6 percent for houses and 8.5 percent for condos, compared to a year ago, in figures released today by the Illinois Association of Realtors.

Prices were about 6 percent higher for both types of dwellings. Houses sold for a median price of $184,700 and condos for $189,500. Half sold for more, half sold for less.

Downers Grove broker John Veneris, president of the association, suggested that buyers were shifting to different types of mortgages to lower their payments. Interest rates averaged 6 percent in the July-September quarter in underwriter Freddie Mac's North Central region.

The North Shore median house price for the quarter was $497,200, highest in the state and a 4.6 percent increase from the same period in 2003. Barrington, Fox Valley, Lake County, Northwest Cook County, Oak Park and Du Page County all have median prices higher than the city's median price of $225,200.

"Last year's third-quarter report was the highest level of buying and selling on record in Illinois," Veneris said. "That we're neck-and-neck with that kind of housing activity this year says a lot about the strength of the residential resale market."

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