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IBJ staff report
    SPRINGFIELD — If you’re selling homes for a profession, you’re bound to be smiling these days.
    Illinois home prices surged 10.4 percent in January 2015, providing a solid start to the new housing year, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.
    Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in January 2015 totaled 7,824 homes sold, down 4.3 percent from January 2014 when 8,178 homes sold.
    The statewide median price in January 2015 shot up to $150,000, a 10.4 percent gain over January 2014’s statewide median price of $135,850. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. Median prices have increased annually every month in Illinois since September 2012.
    Local numbers followed suit. The Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois says St. Clair and Monroe counties recorded increases in home sales compared to January 2014.
    Realtors in St. Clair County sold 4.3 percent more homes this January compared to January 2014. Following that same suit, Monroe County reported a 68.4 percent increase in home sales in January 2015 compared to January 2014. Clinton County recorded a 35.3 percent increase in home sales in January 2015 compared to December 2014.
    “Despite the brutal temperatures and weather we saw in January, home sales remained steady in the Metro East,” said Christopher Mitchell, president of the Realtors Association of Southwestern Illinois. “We are starting off 2015 on a positive note, and we are hopeful about a continuation of those positive numbers throughout the rest of 2015. Home prices continue to remain steady, and affordability still remains strong. Many factors in today’s market are encouraging reasons to purchase a home.”
    Median home prices in the Metro East also saw positive gains in January 2015 compared to January 2014. The median home price for St. Clair County was 27.2 percent higher this January, while Monroe County recorded a 12.9 percent increase in median home price. These counties followed the statewide trend, as the median home price rose 10.4 percent in Illinois last month.
    “The strong price surge in the first month of the year shows that even in a traditionally slow time for real estate there’s enormous interest in finding a home to buy,” said Jim Kinney, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors and vice president for luxury sales at Baird & Warner in Chicago. “Those with homes on the market are definitely seeing traffic and with a slight reduction in inventory levels, sellers are able to command higher prices in many cases.”
    The time it took to sell a home on the market remained unchanged from a year ago at 84 days. The inventory of homes available for sale in the state dropped 4.8 percent to 58,835 units, down from 61,798 units the previous year.
    “Once again prices and sales moved in opposite directions in January with the sales decline attributed to a lower completion rate for homes under contract in December,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “In addition, foreclosure sales declined while sales of regular properties were almost the same as January 2014.”
    According to the data, 37 counties out of 102 Illinois counties reporting recorded sales gains for January 2015 over previous-year numbers, including Will County, up 18.3 percent with 562 units sold, and Champaign County, up 15.8 percent with 132 units sold. Sixty-two counties recorded median price gains in January 2015 over previous-year numbers.
    Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 31 participating Illinois Realtor local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC as of Feb. 8 for the period of Jan. 1 through Jan. 31.

IBJ Business News

Leadership Council campaign receives $2,500 donation

    TROY — Allen Adomite, mayor of Troy, recently  presented Ellen Krohne, executive director of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, with a check for $2,500 for the council’s investment campaign to support its economic development programs. 
    The donated funds gained from a gaming tax will be used to continue efforts to protect and enhance Scott Air Force Base, which has a regional annual economic impact of $3.2 billion.