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Tri-Cities home prices slip; house sales rise in January

After months of moving in a positive direction, home prices in the Tri-Cities edged down to start the new year, even as market activity gained steam last month.

According to the latest round of local home sales data, more home sellers were finding buyers in Kane County and the Tri-Cities of St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia in January than at the beginning of 2012.

In the Tri-Cities, the number of homes sold increased by almost 27 percent in January, compared to the same month one year prior.

The MainStreet Organization of Realtors, a trade group representing Chicago area real estate agents, reported that 71 detached single-family homes sold in January in St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia, combined. That compared to 56 closed single-family home sales in the three cities a year earlier.

Homes sold through foreclosure or short sale, known in the industry as “distressed properties,” continued to account for a large share of that total. In all, 20 distressed properties found buyers in January, accounting for about 28 percent of all single-family home sales.

But the market share for distressed properties in the Tri-Cities actually decreased in January, data supplied by MainStreet indicated.

In January 2012, 25 distressed properties sold, accounting for almost 45 percent of all home sales in the Tri-Cities a year earlier.

In Kane County, home sales increased at a faster clip, rising by 33 percent in January 2013 from January 2012, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

In all, 430 homes sold in Kane County in January, compared to 323 in the same month a year earlier.

At the same time, home prices in Kane County overall increased. The IAR reported that the median home price – the price at which half the homes in the county sold for more, and half for less – rose from $123,000 in January 2012 to $129,950 in January 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent.

In the Tri-Cities, however, the median price for non-distressed single-family detached homes slipped by almost 7 percent in January.

In January 2013, such homes in the Tri-Cities fetched an average median price of $262,663. A year earlier, such homes claimed an average median price of $282,163.

That decrease marked the end of consistent home price gains to close out 2012, when the median price in the Tri-Cities had risen to $289,000.

Distressed properties continued to be sold at discounts of 12 to 30 percent, compared to non-distressed, traditionally sold single-family homes.

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