06/24/2014 10:36 am ET Updated Aug 24, 2014

Would You Believe Illinois' Home Prices Are Just Average?

Home prices represent a lot of things: the desirability of a neighborhood, a life-long investment, a market health indicator (and how cool the house is), and Illinois home prices are no different. According to, a real estate listing and searching website, Illinois has the 27th-highest average listing price for houses on the market (at $300,332) out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as of May 28.

Listing prices do not tell the whole story of home value, only the amount a seller has initially asked for in exchange for the property. According to the website Investopedia, land value, "implications for investment" and inherent quality over style are the most important factors when it comes to determining the value of a home.

Proving that location, location, location really is important, Hawaii has the highest average listing price in the country at $997,981, followed closely by Washington, D.C. and then New York, California and Massachusetts. Iowa has the lowest average listing price at $184,931. Some of Illinois' Midwestern neighbors round out the bottom 5--Ohio, Indiana, Kansas and Arkansas.

Click here to check out an interactive map of every states' average list price and national rank.

According to Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, home values are calculated using census data from the last 30 years for every state. The growth rate of value helps inform the house's current value. The price of the structure of the house is also considered, so things like size and building material are important.

According to Investopedia, these investment implications are mostly about the location of the home: the value of other homes nearby, the possibility of future development positively or negatively affecting the value and what kind of street a house is situated on (if it is heavily trafficked, on cul-de-sac, etc.) The blog also advises that the age of neighbors can indicate whether home values in the area are likely on their way up or down. According to Bloomberg, home values in the U.S. increased during the first quarter of 2014.

Land value is different from home value, though the two do directly affect each other. According to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, land value also has its own unique factors, the first of which is home value and structure value (it's a cycle).

From Investopedia:

The reason that land is an appreciating asset is a simple one. It is in limited supply, and no one is producing any more. The demand for land is constantly growing as the population increases, and since its supply is limited, its price must increase over time.

Maybe this helps explain why Hawaii is ranked as number one? There are definitely limited and highly sought-after amounts of land on the Hawaiian islands.

According to, Illinois' real estate market is actually two markets working side by side, which helps explain Illinois' middle-of-the-road rating on list prices. The city of Chicago (and some surrounding suburbs) have some of the highest home prices in the country, which are on par with other large cities. Low home prices in downstate Illinois bring the state overall into the middle of the pack.


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