SPRINGFIELD, IL – September 23, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Illinois home sales made gains in August from the previous month as buyer affordability conditions soared; slower activity is anticipated due to seasonal factors and fewer buyers in the immediate pipeline following the tax credit. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest report, statewide total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) in August 2010 totaled 8,390, an increase of 2.6 percent from July’s 8,181 home sales; year-over-year home sales are down 21.9 percent compared to August 2009 sales of 10,740 homes. Year-to-date sales remain positive, up 9.2 percent January through August 2010 with 73,598 sales compared to 67,390 home sales for the same period in 2009.
The median price in August 2010 was $158,000, down 4.2 percent from $165,000 in August 2009. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less. The year-to-date median sales price was off -1.9 percent to $155,000 from $158,000 for 2009.
“The housing market is waging an epic battle to maintain some hard-earned stability gained in the first half of the year. On one side we have the combination of record low mortgage interest rates and lower home prices making very compelling affordability conditions for buyers,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City. “On the other, we are entering a slower season in fall and winter when activity is typically soft. A healthy housing market depends on a healthy Illinois economy, especially in the area of job creation and stability.”
He adds: “Pricing remains the number one issue for sellers. To sell quickly the price must be competitive relative to homes for sale in the area and this becomes even more of a challenge in markets where foreclosures and short sales dominate.”
In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) in August total home sales (including single-family and condominiums) reached 5,633 homes sold, up 1.3 percent from July’s total of 5,561; sales were down 19.6 percent compared to 7,008 homes sold in August 2009. Year-to-date sales remain up 15.8 percent January through August 2010 with 49,293 sales compared to 42,562 home sales for the same period in 2009.
The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $197,000 in August 2010, down 3.9 percent from $205,000 in August 2009. The year-to-date median sales price is down 5.0 percent to $190,000 from $200,000 for 2009.
“Once again the economy has provided little or no inspiration for the housing market,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, the Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “Private sector employment gains continue to be far short of the pace needed to accommodate labor force and population growth.”
The unemployment rate nationally increased 0.1 percent to 9.6 percent in August from July; the Illinois unemployment rate lowered -0.2 point to 10.1 percent in August.
Hewings added: “While it is clear that the home purchase tax credit accelerated sales in the first part of 2010, it is not clear that this stimulus over the course of the whole year will generate net positive gains. Many consumers clearly accelerated the timing of their purchases; rumors of further programs may place many potential buyers in a ‘wait and see’ mode especially if interest rates continue to remain low.”
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was a record low 4.43 percent in August 2010, down from 4.58 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in August it averaged 5.27 percent.
In the city of Chicago, August total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were down 22.9 percent to 1,486 sales compared to 1,927 homes sold in August 2009. The city of Chicago median price in August 2010 was $200,000, down 13.0 percent compared to $229,900 a year ago in August 2009.
Year-to-date sales remain up by 17.2 percent January through August 2010 with 13,883 sales compared to 11,842 home sales for the same period in 2009. The year-to-date median sales price for the city of Chicago is down 6.4 percent to $214,500 from $229,276 for 2009.
“The market year-to-date in the city of Chicago reflects an increase in the number of units sold by more than 17 percent over the same period in 2009,” said REALTOR® Genie Birch, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and a broker associate with Koenig & Strey Real Living, Chicago. “Consumers continue to find Chicago real estate worthy of their investment, and are making sound decisions regarding how they spend their money and plan for their future.”
According to the IAR report, total home sales (single-family and condominiums) comparing August 2010 to August 2009 were up in 18 of 100 Illinois counties reporting with 42 of 100 counties posting median price increases. The following Illinois counties reported gains in the median price for the month: DuPage, up 4.4 percent to $248,000; Knox up 6.6 percent to $74,500; Lake, up 14.4 percent to $246,000; Macon, up 4.1 percent to $95,750; Rock Island, up 10.6 percent to $100,625; Sangamon, up 4.6 percent to $124,000; St. Clair, up 20.8 percent to $142,500; Will, up 5.6 percent to $190,000; and Winnebago, up 8.0 percent to $112,000.
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 46,000 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/marketstats.
** Economist Geoff Hewings will be available for media interviews between noon and 3 p.m. CST on Thursday, September 23.
Mary Schaefer/Ann Londrigan