Illinois Home Sales

April 22, 2008


Spring Starts in March with Home Sales Up 24.5 Percent from February; Illinois Median Price at $194,500

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Home sales in March rose from February totals with the onset of spring, although consumer confidence continues to affect market activity. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS latest report, total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) were up 24.5 percent in March 2008 to 8,509 sales compared to February 2008 sales of 6,832; sales were down 29.5 percent from March 2007 totals of 12,075. The Illinois median price in March was $194,500, off 1.3 percent from $197,000 in March 2007. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

“During March home sales remained mired in slow growth activity due to low consumer confidence, tighter financing factors and a weakening economy. But right now is a very good time for Illinoisans waiting to buy a house to enter the market for many reasons including mortgage interest rates below six percent,” said REALTOR Kay Wirth, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS. “There is a lot of pent-up demand and while people are being cautious given the uncertainty in the overall economy, the spring market is here and now is an ideal time to check out ample inventory in your area to purchase your dream home.”

In the city of Chicago there were 2,045 total home sales (single-family and condominiums) in March 2008, off 11.5 percent from 2,311 homes sold in March 2007. The median price in the city of Chicago increased 5.3 percent to $300,000 compared to $285,000 in March 2007.

“City of Chicago sales in March continue to show an increase in the median price of homes by over five percent, year over year, showing great promise for Chicago's homeowners and those interested in getting into the marketplace,” said David Hanna, president-elect of the Chicago Association of REALTORS. “The Chicago condo market, in particular, continues to see significant appreciation, with the median condo price in March 2008 at $317,900, over eight percent of the median price in March 2007. Chicago's market is full of opportunity for the smart real estate investor and knowledgeable home buyer.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 6.01 percent in March 2008, up a slight 0.02 points from the 5.99 average rate the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in March it averaged 6.19 percent.

“The Kankakee area including Kankakee and Livingston counties fared particularly better than other counties in March with sales and prices holding steady,” said Wirth, a broker with Re/Max Unlimited Northwest in Crystal Lake.

The Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) logged 5,753 total home sales in March 2008, down 29.0 percent from 8,101 home sales in March 2007. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $248,000 in March 2008, up 1.2 percent from $245,000 in March 2007. The Chicagoland PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

“While Illinois median prices are likely to continue to increase over the next three months (April - June) the levels forecast will still be about one to two percent below those observed in the same months in 2007,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “In Chicago by June, prices will be very close to the levels observed in June 2007, with the May prices slightly above those recorded a year earlier.”

According to the latest forecast from the National Association of REALTORS, chief economist Lawrence Yun said: “Existing home sales could start to show a sustained increase within a few months, unless there are some additional economic or inflationary pressure. We’re looking for essentially stable sales in the near term before higher mortgage limits translate into sales in high-cost markets. The wider access to affordable credit should increase sales activity notably this summer as pent-up demand begins to be met.”

Sales and price information is generated from a survey of Multiple Listing Service sales reported by 35 participating Illinois REALTOR local boards and associations. The Illinois Association of REALTORS is a voluntary trade association whose 60,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the Illinois Association of REALTORS works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation that safeguards and advances the interest of real property ownership.



Mary Schaefer/
Ann Londrigan