CHICAGO
07/12/2011 12:18 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2011

Illinois Realtor Group Admits They Overstated Chicago Home Prices

The Illinois Association of Realtors, the state's largest real estate trade association, fessed up Monday to grossly overstating the median selling price for homes in Chicago in monthly reports dating as far as three years back.

The errors, they claim, were not intentional, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, but were due instead to a data processing mistake. While they initially admitted they had erred in their May report, they also say their monthly reports over the last three years, since they originally began reporting Chicago-specific data in February 2008, may also be inaccurate.

In a statement released Monday on their website, the association said their reported May 2011 median home sale price -- $299,000, a 10.3 percent increase over the same month the previous year -- was approximately $50,000 too high. After correcting for their data input error, the median sales price in May was said to be $249,000, 23 percent lower than the same month the previous year.

In their report, issued last month, the association had lauded the sales figures -- which they said to be part of a four-month rise in home sale prices statewide -- as "all good signs for a market working to recover amid lackluster job creation and a restrictive lending environment."

The discrepancy reportedly came to light after the Chicago Tribune, acting on a tip, questioned the association's most recent report on median home sale prices.

Despite the Chicago reporting errors, their statement indicates they are standing by their previous assertions of a statewide upswing in home sale prices.

In February, the National Association of Realtors was criticized on similar grounds when they were found to be overcounting the number of home sales, the Sun-Times reports. Realtors can benefit from such reports being overly sunny as they can falsely instill increased consumer confidence in the housing market's recovery.

Last week, the Chicago News Cooperative reported the Chicago area is home to the most foreclosed homes of any large metropolitan area in the nation.