FEB 21, 2013 5:17pm ET

Home Sales Up in Florida and Illinois

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Realtor groups in Florida and Illinois reported January saw both higher median home prices and increased existing-home sales in their states. But their cohorts in California complained that the fiscal cliff put a damper on that state’s market, driving sales that might have taken place in January forward into December 2012.

In Florida, closed sales in January totaled 13,679, up 12% from the same month last year, while pending sales were up 31%. The statewide median home price was $145,000, up 12.4% over January 2012.

Illinois home sales were up 31% over January 2012, with prices up 1.2%.

“Foreclosures continue to dampen price gains and reduce inventory levels as prospective sellers are wary of the effects these properties have on their own properties. However, the sales volumes are impressive and with foreclosure sales continuing to outpace new additions, there is some expectation that over the next year, prices might start to move upward in some sustained fashion,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

In California the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 491,720 units sold was down 6% from December and 4% from January 2012. The median sales price of $337,040 was down 8% from December, but up 24% from January 2012.

“A rush by home buyers trying to complete sales of higher-priced homes by the end of last year in order to avoid capital gains increases pulled forward sales that might have closed in January instead. Additionally, the extreme shortage of homes for sale continues to hinder California’s housing market, as demonstrated by the nearly two months’ supply drop compared with last year,” said state Realtor group  president Don Faught.

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