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Foreclosures strain housing market in August

The local housing market struggled forward in August, roiled by a surge in foreclosures and distressed properties in the Tri-Cities and Kane County.

According to the latest round of home sales data supplied by local real estate associations, homes sold in the Tri-Cities and Kane County increased sharply last month.

In the Tri-Cities, the number of homes sold jumped by 29 percent in August, compared with August 2011, according to data from the MainStreet Association of Realtors, a trade group representing Chicago area real estate agents.

In all, 146 homes sold in the Tri-Cities in August, compared to 113 in the same month a year ago, MainStreet reported. That increase mirrors the about 29 percent increase seen in Kane County.

The Illinois Association of Realtors reported in August that 668 homes sold countywide, up from 519 homes sold a year ago. However, the amount home sellers received when completing the sales fell again in August.

In Kane County, the median sale price declined 5.4 percent, from $158,000 in August 2011 to $149,450 last month, the IAR reported.

And in the Tri-Cities, the price paid for a home declined by 10.8 percent because the average of the median price fetched by home sellers in the three communities slipped from $303,233 in August 2011 to $270,500 last month.

A renewed surge in so-called distressed properties – homes that had been sold by lenders who reclaimed them through foreclosure or sold for less than what was owed on the outstanding mortgage – appeared to underlie the surge in sales activity and the decline in prices.

In the Tri-Cities, the number of homes sold as a result of foreclosure or short sale accounted for about 31 percent of all homes sold in August, according to data supplied by MainStreet.

In August 2011, the distressed properties accounted for about 29 percent of homes sold.

That increased market share for distressed properties also dragged down housing prices.

Last year, for instance, homes that had lapsed into bank ownership were sold at a typical discount of about 33 percent compared to homes sold in the traditional fashion. This August, those foreclosed homes suffered a discount of 45 percent.

By comparison, the median price for homes sold in the traditional fashion declined by about 3 percent in August in the Tri-Cities, slipping from $322,500 last year to $312,626 this year.

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