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posted: 2/1/2014 1:00 AM

Home sales, prices experience double-digit growth in 2013

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The suburban Chicago housing market continued to make impressive gains in 2013, with sales of single-family, detached homes climbing 24.7 percent compared with 2012, according to statistics released by the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, or MORe.

MORe's region -- which includes about 200 communities in DuPage, Lake and suburban Cook counties -- also experienced notable price gains, as reflected in information provided by Midwest Real Estate Data LLC. The median price for a detached, single-family home increased 11 percent in 2013 over the previous year.

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In December alone, the median price grew 16.4 percent compared with the same month in 2012, and sales of detached homes rose 11.2 percent. That momentum is expected to continue as the number of detached homes under contract in December grew by 7.9 percent in those same communities.

"There's no question that 2013 was an outstanding year for the Chicago-area housing market," said Michael Parent, president of MORe and vice president of operations for Burnet Title's Chicago region. "In some ways it was even better than predicted, especially in regard to the upward trend in prices. Nearly one-third of the communities in MORe's jurisdiction experienced double-digit growth in home values in 2013."

Parent noted several additional suburban market trends, including:

Cold weather slowing activity

"So far, 2014 has been off to a bit of a slow start as a result of the extreme cold weather," he said. "However, I am optimistic about the year as a whole. We expect to see good inventory coming on the market and an increase in buyers by the end of January. Those are the homes that will be closing in April and May of 2014."

Luxury market returns

"The luxury market came back on line in 2013," Parent said. "We know that lower-priced properties have been moving as investors and other buyers hunt for bargains, but it is a good sign when you see the upper end of the market moving as well."

Normalization of prices

"Ideally we want to see steady, sustainable growth -- around an 8 to 10 percent increase in home prices -- in 2014," he said. "We need values, which are still a bit watered down, to return to normal market levels. There are tremendous deals to be had out there, as evidenced by the continued activity of investors in Chicago's suburban real estate markets."

In a year-to-year comparison in sales of single-family detached homes, there were notable gains in many suburban communities, including Broadview (104 percent increase YTD from 2012), Dixmoor (114 percent), East Hazel Crest (233 percent), Hometown (100 percent) and Thornton (144 percent).

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