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Illinois lags the rest of the country in home sales

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(The Center Square) – While existing home sales around the country jumped nearly 10% in February, sales in Illinois remain sluggish.

February year-over-year home sales fell in Illinois 1.2% as the number of available homes reached its lowest mark since 2008, according to Illinois Realtors. House inventories around the country are increasing, as 17.8% more sellers listed their homes in the week ending March 16 compared with last year.

There were just over 15,000 homes listed for sale in Illinois in February. That is compared to over 61,000 in August 2019.

Daniel McMillan, professor of real estate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said Illinois is lagging behind when it comes to new construction.

“The thing that really stands out about Illinois is there has been very slow growth in the number of new homes being built compared to the rest of the country,” said McMillan.

Home prices in Illinois are 10% higher than this time last year. The median price of an existing home in February in Illinois was $265,500. That is compared to $384,500 nationally, a 5.7% increase from the prior year.

Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, told Yahoo Finance if mortgage rates go down, home prices will jump.

“I think everybody and their mother and their in-laws are going to come out and look for a new house, and the competition is going to be so fierce that house prices will have to go up,” Corcoran said.

The average rate of a 30-year mortgage slipped to 6.79% from 6.87% last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac, which reported the numbers Thursday. Industry experts said the pullback in mortgage rates since their peak last fall may provide more financial breathing room for prospective homebuyers.