Metro-East News

Business Briefing: Illinois housing market reports robust sales in July

The Illinois housing market’s strong summer of sales continued last month with an 8 percent increase in sales over the year before.

The Illinois Association of Realtors has reported a strong June followed by 16,901 homes sold last month, an 8 percent increase over the 15,644 transactions recorded in July 2014.

Sales prices are also healthy. The association reported a 6 percent gain in median price, the point where half of homes sold for more and half sold for less, to $179,000 over the 12-month period.

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Sears has refocused its efforts toward repeat customers by way of rewards programs. The retailer’s move comes as sales declined in the second quarter, as revenue fell to $6.2 billion from $8 billion. Sales recorded at stores open at least a year have declined by 10.8 percent. Read more here.

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Unemployment claims filed across the country are up but remain historically low. The number of Americans seeking unemployment recently increased by 4,000. However, the current number of jobless claims is almost 11 percent below the level recorded a year ago as many have found jobs or have exhausted their benefits. Learn more here.

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A drug company that has made the first prescription drug intended to boost sexual desire in women is being sold. Valeant Pharmaceuticals will pay about $1 billion to buy Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which had received approval for its new drug the day before the transaction was announced. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the current quarter. Find out more here.

-Will Buss, BND business writer

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