Illinois home prices surge 13.1 percent in February; Home sales decline 1.7 percent amid tight inventories

FOR RELEASE: March 23, 2015

For Further Information Contact: Stephanie Sievers, 217-529-2600

Illinois home prices surge 13.1 percent in February; Home
sales decline 1.7 percent amid tight inventories

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois home prices continued to strengthen as the statewide median price experienced a double-digit annual gain in February, marking 30 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in February 2015 totaled 7,865 homes sold, down 1.7 percent from February 2014 when 8,004 homes sold.

The statewide median price in February 2015 rose to $149,900, a 13.1 percent gain over February 2014’s statewide median price of $132,500. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

"Sellers should definitely be motivated by this market," said Jim Kinney, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and vice president for luxury sales at Baird & Warner in Chicago. "The lower inventories and relatively short time it takes to sell a home are indicators that the housing market is quite robust entering into the busy spring season."

Lower housing inventory remains a factor in the market with 59,042 homes available for sale, a 4.8 percent decline compared to February 2014. The time it took to sell a home in February was slightly higher at 91 days compared to 88 a year ago.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central Region was 3.68 percent in February 2015, up from 3.66 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In February 2014 it averaged 4.32 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, home sales (single family and condominiums) in February 2015 totaled 5,611, a decrease of 1.3 percent from the 5,683 sales in February 2014.

The median price in February in the Chicago PMSA was $175,000, up 12.5 percent from  $155,600 in February 2014.

“Spring has come earlier than the weather to the housing market with solid gains in prices even with slight declines in monthly and year-over-year sales,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “Home buyers seem to be differentiating between regular and foreclosed homes for sale with the former gaining increasing shares of sales over the last year and thus propelling the increase in median prices in both Illinois and Chicago.”

According to the data, thirty-five (35) counties out of 102 Illinois counties reporting recorded sales gains for February 2015 over previous-year numbers, including Tazewell County, up 32.1 percent with 103 units sold, and Lake County, up 4.0 percent with 497 units sold. Fifty (50) counties recorded median price gains in February 2015 over previous-year numbers, including Champaign County, up 27.6 percent to $157,000; DeKalb County, up 27.1 percent to $144,950; and Cook County, up 13.2 percent to $172,000.

The city of Chicago saw sales of 1,448 homes in February 2015, up 3.9 percent from last year. The median price of a home in Chicago was $212,000, up 21.1 percent over February 2014.

“Chicago’s spring buying season is starting strong. In a sign of buyer confidence, year-over-year city sales increased for the first time since last summer despite the low inventory,” said Hugh Rider, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and co-president of Realty & Mortgage Co. “This is welcome news for potential sellers who might have been tepid about putting their home on the market. Homeowners also can be motivated by median sales prices that continue to top last year’s.”

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 31 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC as of March 8, 2015 for the period of Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, 2015. 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 43,000 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 to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at


MEDIA ONLY: Economist Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings will be available for media interviews between 9 a.m. and noon CST on March 23. He can be reached at 312-320-3460.