Chicago Housing Industry Among Those Recovering

August 21, 2012

While the national and Chicago real estate markets still have a long way to go to recuperate, one company is reporting 2012 as “the year of the housing recovery.”

According to the July RE/MAX National Housing Report, U.S. home sales last month were 10.3 percent higher than they were in July 2011, year-over-year home sales rose for the 13th straight month, and median home prices rose 3.7 percent and have posted levels higher than the previous year for six months in a row.

“It’s reassuring that both sales and prices continue to rise higher on a yearly basis, indicating that this housing recovery is real,” said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC.

“Overall, the picture is getting brighter each month, but what we need for a sustainable recovery is a turn-around in unemployment and better availability of mortgages, especially for higher-priced homes.”

Of the 53 metro areas surveyed, 44 reported higher July home sales than a year ago, including Chicago, one of 26 markets where the improvement hit double digits:

Metro areas that posted the largest year-over-year home-sales increases last month, according to RE/MAX:

*Providence, Rhode Island; up 38.1 percent

*Albuquerque, New Mexico; up 29.6 percent

*Chicago; up 29.5 percent

*Boston, Massachusetts; 25.7 percent

*Nashville, Tennessee; up 25.4 percent

*Milwaukee, Wisconsin; up 25.1 percent

Sales are up, but the housing market is now facing a new challenge that could hinder recovery: inventory.

Available U.S. homes for sale were 26.8 percent lower in July 2012 compared to July 2011. Because of the shrinking inventory in Chicago, the average number of days it took to sell a home fell from 166 days last July to 141 last month. That is the lowest average for the Chicago area since December of 2007.

That’s helpful, but a healthy housing market includes a healthy inventory of homes for sale. To read more about this new challenge, click this Chicago real estate link.

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