Mary Schaefer/Ann Londrigan
Illinois Home Sales in February Mark Sixth Consecutive Gain
Up 15.7 Percent from a Year Ago
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois housing market posted its sixth consecutive month of year-over-year home sales increases in February as tax credit and buyer market conditions continue to move the market toward stability. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest report, statewide total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) in February 2010 were up 15.7 percent, totaling 6,068 homes sold compared to February 2009 sales of 5,243 homes. The median price in February 2010 was $135,000, down 3.6 percent from $140,000 in February 2009. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.
“We are encouraged by more signs of improvement in the Illinois housing market spurred by the tremendous buyer market conditions with sales increases for six months in a row statewide and eight months running in the Chicagoland nine-county region,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City. “Price declines have moderated statewide although the more urban areas are still affected by foreclosures and short sales, which hopefully will move through the system more effectively with the new federal guidelines of the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program taking effect in early April.”
Adds Onorato: “This particular spring market really is the time for anyone thinking of buying a home in Illinois to make their move given the combination of low mortgage interest rates, affordable prices and the federal tax credit for first-time buyers and long-time homeowners, which ends April 30.”
In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), year-over-year home sales were positive for the eighth consecutive month, up 32.0 percent to 4,134 homes sold (single-family and condominiums) in February 2010 compared to 3,133 homes sold in February 2009. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $165,000 in February 2010, down 10.3 percent from $184,000 in February 2009.
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 5.01 percent in February 2010, down from 5.06 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in February it averaged 5.16 percent.
“While unemployment rates in the state continue to trend upwards, the news in the housing market is a little brighter,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “The annual changes in sales in December, January and February in both Illinois and Chicago markets were in the 15 to 30 percent range; forecasts for the next three months (March, April and May) suggest a continuation of this trend although at more modest rates. However, prices will continue to trend down in the 4 to 6 percent range in the state.”
In the city of Chicago, February total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were up 41.5 percent to 1,225 sales compared to 866 homes sold in February 2009, the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. The city of Chicago median price in February 2010 was $176,500 down 19.3 percent compared to $218,625 a year ago in February 2009.
“A positive upward trend was seen in the month of February as condo sales in the city increased over 40 percent from the same period in 2009,” said REALTOR® Genie Birch, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and a broker associate with Koenig & Strey GMAC, Chicago. “The tax credit has been a tremendous help for those homebuyers on the fence. With interest rates still favorable, and a month left before the tax credit expires, those considering making a purchase should do so now, to take advantage of these great opportunities while they are still available.”
According to the IAR report, total home sales (single-family and condominiums) comparing February 2010 to the same month in 2009 were up in 41 of 98 Illinois counties reporting including Cook, up 37.5 percent; DuPage, up 33.0 percent; Grundy, up 19.0 percent; Kane, up 43.6 percent; Lake, up 43.4 percent; McHenry, up 14.8 percent; Peoria, up 35.9 percent; Saint Clair, up 16.3 percent; Sangamon, up 3.6 percent; and Will, up 2.0 percent.
Sales and price information is generated from a survey of Multiple Listing Service sales reported by 37 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.
The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose 50,000 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.
Find Illinois market stats data at www.illinoisrealtor.org, click on Market Stats.