Homes in Evanston became more affordable last year, at least if you didn’t need a sub-prime mortgage to buy one.

The slowing real estate market resulted in prices for single family homes and condos that were essentially unchanged from 2006, while the overall cost of living rose 4.25 percent nationwide.

Figures from the North Shore Barrington Association of Realtors show that the median price of a single family home ended 2007 at $550,000 — exactly the same as it was a year earlier.

By contrast, the median price of single family homes had risen 10.5 percent during 2006.

For condos and townhomes in Evanston last year, the median price fell 0.2 percent from $277,250 to $276,625. Evanston condo prices had risen 3.4 percent in 2006.

Although prices were steady, the number of units sold dropped sharply in 2007 and the time it took to sell a home dramatically increased.

Howard Handler of the realtors association says Evanston saw 369 single family homes sold last year compared to 453 in 2006.

Condo sales dropped from 817 in 2006 to 616 in 2007.

The realty group’s numbers include all homes sold through the multiple listing service, which includes a substantial majority of all transactions.

The average time required to sell a single family home rose from 72 days to 115 days. For a condo the selling time increased from 120 days to 140 days.

For the entire region served by the realtor’s association, single family home prices increased 3.1 percent last year and condo prices managed a 0.4 percent increase.

The increase in market time and decrease in sales volume were roughly the same in Evanston and across the North Shore region.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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