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Home prices rise in May as sales fall

Home prices soared nearly 15 percent in Chicago in May while sales fell in the city, the metro area and statewide.

The median sale price of a Chicago home rose 14.9 percent to $270,000 in May compared with a year earlier, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported Monday. At the same time, sales in the city were down 15.7 percent from May 2013.

Home prices rose 13.1 percent to $207,000 in the Chicago metro area and 8.3 percent to $167,900 statewide. Sales were down 12.2 percent in the metro area and 9.4 percent statewide.

“Buyers face a market where they have fewer properties from which to choose,” said Phil Chiles, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “In many cases sellers are finding they are getting more money for their properties, and that it is taking less time to sell them.”

A home in the metro area sold in May was on the market an average of 59 days, down 14.5 percent from May 2013.

The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales of existing homes increased 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million homes. The monthly gain was the fastest since August 2011, but even with the increase, sales are still 5 percent below the pace in May 2013.

“Sales appear to be moving up again, although the increase to date — over two months — reverses just a fraction of earlier weakening,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said in a research note.

Sales had been dampened by last year’s rise in mortgage rates from historic lows and various other factors including tight supplies and tougher lending standards.

The median price of a home sold in May was $213,400, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.

Contributing: The Associated Press