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An up and down year for Chicago housing market

Home sales dipped in the fourth quarter for Chicago, according to RE/MAX.

Home sales dipped in the fourth quarter for Chicago, according to RE/MAX.

The Chicago real estate market came in like a lion in 2010 but went out like a lamb.

According to an analysis performed by RE/MAX Northern Illinois, several counties showed strong gains in people moving to the region. For instance, in Lake and Kane Counties, along with portions of Cook County, residential home sales rose almost 8 percent compared to the same quarter in 2009.

Suburbia showed considerable gains as well. RE/MAX says that among the east and southern suburbs around O'Hare International Airport, sales rose 10 percent last year compared to 2009.

But if you confine the numbers to the last quarter of 2010, it's a much different picture. In October, November and December of 2010, home sales were 28 percent less than the same three-month period of 2009. It's an indication of what's to come, according to RE/MAX Northern Illinois regional director Jim Merrion.

"I think we can expect to see 2011 sales totals trail those of 2010 through the first half of the year, but then I really do expect the situation to reverse itself," said Merrion.

Chicago's growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2010 is a sharp contrast to the rest of the country, as most countrywide indicators showed increases.