Chicago-area existing home sales skyrocket

The Home Front

09/05/2012 10:00 PM

DON DeBAT

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The residential housing market in the Chicago area is in rebound mode as real estate brokers report strong existing home and condominium sales in normally slow summer months, experts say.

According to MLS data compiled by the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR), 8,551 homes and condos were sold in July of 2012, up a whopping 29.1 percent from 6,624 homes marketed in July of 2011.

However, the continued burn-off of foreclosures and short sales pushed the median home price in July of 2012 down to $172,000 in the nine-county Chicago area, a decline of 5.9 percent from $182,700 in July 2011.

“The sales momentum we saw building in the first six months of 2012 is continuing into the latter half of the year,” noted Loretta Alonzo, president of the IAR. “Low interest rates and home prices will give the market a foundation for continued strengthening.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 3.54 percent in July 2012, down from 3.67 percent during the previous month, reported the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Last year in July it averaged 4.59 percent.

“Despite the unclear signals for the future pace of economic recovery, the Illinois and Chicago-area housing sales and price forecasts suggest that the housing market will maintain the positive momentum into the fall,” predicted economist Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings of the University of Illinois.

In Chicago, sales of single-family homes and condos in July totaled 2,088 units, up 26.2 percent from 1,655 units sold in the same month a year ago. Chicago median home and condo sale price was $205,000 in July, down 2.4 percent from $210,000 in compared to July of 2011.

Chicago saw a continued growth in the number of all units sold through July of 2012 over the same period in 2011, including 23.2 percent more condos sold in Chicago.

“Condos remain a cornerstone of the Chicago marketplace and an affordable option for first-time home buyers and investors looking for both value and the experience of city living,” said Realtor Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors.

“Condo sales remain a strong indicator of a market recovery. Competitive pricing and low interest rates create investment opportunities some may have not otherwise been able to achieve,” Morris said.

Meanwhile, state-wide home and condo sales surged 25.5 percent to 12,355 units sold, a gain of 25.5 percent from 9,846 units sold in the same month a year ago. This was the best July performance since 2007 when 14,738 homes were sold in Illinois.

The statewide median price in July was $148,000, down 1.7 percent from $150,575 in July of 2011. However, median prices in July were $25,650 higher than they were in January of 2012. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

More than half of Illinois counties reporting (62 of 101) showed year-over-year home sales increases in July of 2012. And, 50 counties showed year-over-year median price increases.

The IAR reported the following county-by-county price increases: DuPage, up 1.1 percent to $220,000; Grundy, up 15.8 percent to $139,000; Kankakee, up 4.2 percent to $123,449; LaSalle, up 13.6 percent to $100,250; McLean, up 3.8 percent to $165,000; Rock Island, up 5.6 percent to $99,750; and Winnebago, up 3.9 percent to $93,500.

Don DeBat’s weekly real estate column is syndicated by DeBat Media Services. For more home-buying information visit his website at: www.dondebat.net.

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