Chicago Homes Sales Moving Up

March 21, 2012

Illinois and Chicago real estate homes sales are improving, and the crazy winter we have been having is one reason why.

According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, our state recorded its eighth straight month of year-over-year increases in home sales last month while marking its best February numbers in four years.

A home buyer and seller shake hands in front of a for sale sign that is marked Sold.Illinois saw 6,487 homes sold in February, a 15.1 percent increase from 5,634 home sales in February 2011. That’s the best outcome in February since 2008, when 7,058 Illinois homes were sold. Since then, the association has reported 5,243 Illinois homes sold in February 2009, 6,194 in 2010 and 5,634 in 2011.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), February home sales totaled 4,325, an increase of 14.8 percent from the February 2011 sales of 3,769 homes.

Within the city of Chicago, 1,079 homes were sold last month, up 2.2 percent from 1,056 homes sold during the same month last year.

“For Illinois, the most relevant factor would be a surge in job creation and the state’s economy has been showing consistent signs of life in the last 12 months,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois.

“For most of 2011, Illinois’ job growth kept pace with the nation, whereas for much of the previous two decades the job growth hovered at rates between one third and one half the national levels.”

While job creation is extremely important for a successful housing recovery, something as simple as the weather has made a difference in winter home sales as well.

“A mild Chicago February continues to prove positive for the city’s housing market,” said REALTOR® Bob Floss, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.

“Sellers and buyers are closely watching opportunities to make the move right for them in this economy. While sellers are motivated to close on their homes, they are also strategic in looking for ways to make opportune investments in the purchase of their next home, garnering them more value for their dollar. First-time homebuyers are equally measured, looking for distressed or right-priced traditional purchases of homes to help make their investment dreams a reality.”

This market is a buyer’s dream. While home sales rose in February throughout the state, home values did not.

*Illinois: The statewide median price in February was $117,000, down 8.2 percent from $127,500 in February 2011.

*Chicagoland: The median price last month was $135,000 in the Chicago PMSA, down 11.5 percent compared to last year in February when it was $152,500.

*City of Chicago: The median home sale price for February 2012 was $140,000, down 6.7 percent from the $150,000 in February 2011.

“People seem to be feeling better about where the economy is going,” said Loretta Alonzo, CRB, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

“When you have interest rates and housing prices this low homebuyers are highly motivated to get back into the market.”

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