Home sales in 2013 in the metro-east posted the highest gains since the recession began.
The 2,528 homes sold last year in St. Clair County and 2,977 homes sold in Madison County were the most in both counties since 2007, when sales exceeded 3,000 new and existing homes.
The National Bureau of Economic Research traces the beginning of the recession to December 2007.
The local housing market has been slowly on the rise over the past two years. The total sales last year were the most in the past six years.
The Illinois Realtor Association reported 11,279 home sales statewide last year, an 18.9 percent increase in sales compared to 2012.
The 5.09 million sales reported throughout the country last year by the National Association of Realtors is the highest since 2006 and 9.1 percent more than total sales recorded during 2012.
Tricia Tialdo, president of the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois in Belleville, said 2013 continued the trend of increasing home sales and proved to be a progressive year for the housing market.
"Last year marked another year of strong home sales for our area and the state," Tialdo said. "The increasing number of home sales year over year is a positive sign for the metro-east. If you look back over the past five years, you can see significant increases in homes sales, which is encouraging news. We are excited to see what 2014 will bring to our area."
In Glen Carbon, Greater Gateway Association of Realtors President and Chief Operating Officer Al Suguitan said most economists feel that 2014 will be similar to last year for the local housing market as employment also increases. The jobless rate in Madison County peaked at 10 percent in 2009 and 10.8 percent in St. Clair County in 2010 and has since gradually decreased.
"In the last four years, Illinois has shown average to strong employment growth rate," Suguitan said. "And barring anything for the state or federal level, we should continue to see higher employment numbers, which drive the entire economy."
Contact reporter Will Buss at email@example.com or 239-2526.