As the state's capital, Springfield, Illinois, has not been able to shield itself from the immune effects of the sour national housing market. Like most larger markets nationwide, the city has seen its economy suffer, resulting in a rise in foreclosures and a decrease in home values. Unemployment is up, though things do seem to be improving toward the end of this year.

Greene County, in which the city is located, saw prices fall further in the third quarter of 2009 from the second quarter. Average prices for sold Springfield real estate stood in the third quarter at $134,900, down from $145,800 in the second quarter, according to the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors. However, the drop in prices must be viewed in context, as many of the homes may have been foreclosed homes being cleared off the market at lowered prices.

The inventory of homes for sale in Springfield in the third quarter remained virtually unchanged from the year's second quarter, up by a single home. Meanwhile, sales volume continued to climb, reaching 991 in the quarter, up from 965 in the previous one. Sales volume was no doubt helped out by home buyers hoping to take advantage of the government's plan to offer tax rebates of up to $8,000 to qualified first-time home buyers.

The number of new homes being built has been drastically reduced throughout the crisis, as the market for new real estate in Springfield deteriorates. In the second quarter there were 178 newly built homes on the market. During the first two months of the third quarter, there were just 86 new homes brought to the market. Additionally, the number of days homes are spending on the market is falling as well, down to just 61 from 67.

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