graphic of house on line chartHome sales in Illinois surged 11.1% in December compared to November, according to the report released from Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) today. December 2010 sales totaled 7,682 compared to 6,915 sales in the previous month of November 2010; year-over-year sales were down 7.3 percent from 8,288 sales in December 2009.

“The gains in home sales made in December is encouraging given the time of year, and buyers can expect affordability conditions to remain high in early 2011 with mortgage interest rates still low,” said REALTOR® Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, ABR, CRB, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and the Development and Operations Coordinator for Traders Realty in Peoria.

Similar gains were made nationally as the National Association of REALTORS® today reported a rise in December sales of 12.3 percent, the highest monthly increase in over 30 years.

As we inch closer to the start of the 2011 spring housing market in Illinois all eyes are on the economy, jobs, consumer confidence and foreclosures. The spring market should release some of the pent-up demand from buyers who put their plans to trade-up or relocate on hold during the recession.

In a forecast (pdf) prepared for IAR, University of Illinois economist Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings expects first quarter 2011 sales in Illinois to also be affected by the upsurge in homes sales from the tax credit evident in the first quarter of last year.

He added: “The recent income and corporate tax increases passed by the Illinois state legislature provide further complications for those trying to analyze the interaction between the economy and the housing market. If workers and businesses are convinced that these actions will go some way to solving part of the state’s fiscal crises, then the outcome may be positive. The significant increases in Illinois income and corporate taxes enacted last week have created some uncertainty about how these actions might affect Illinois’ economic recovery vis-à-vis surrounding states.”