Illinois has seen year-over-year gains in home sales in recent months and the trend is expected to continue in early 2012, but foreclosures will affect prices, says University of Illinois economist Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings.

Speaking to Illinois REALTORS® in East Peoria, Ill. Wednesday, Hewings spoke of the relationship between the housing market and the Illinois economy and some of the issues facing both.

“We are starting to see some movement in the (housing) market,” Hewings said of recent home sales activity.

But the foreclosure overhang continues to be a factor. If something can be done to tackle the problem of distressed properties, it will mean positive changes for housing, Hewings said.

Hewings points to other issues affecting today’s housing market:

  • Illinois needs jobs. Current employment in Illinois matches that of the late 1990s.
  • Illinois’ per capita income has dropped from 4th place to 15th in the last 15 years.
  • People moving into Illinois don’t have the same incomes of the people moving out.
  • Retirees are opting to stay put rather than downsizing or relocating to another state.
  • The average “time on market” has improved and dropped below 10 months for the first time in three years.

Find Dr. Hewings full presentation, “Housing and the Economy: Impacts and Forecasts” at