SPRINGFIELD, IL – December 22, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Pent-up buyer demand plus low interest rates and the homebuyer tax credit incentive yielded a second month of double-digit gains for Illinois home sales in November, in stark contrast to home sales one year ago in November 2008. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest report, statewide total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) in November 2009 reached 10,361 homes sold, up 64.0 percent from November 2008 sales of 6,317, marking the third consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases in Illinois. The statewide median price in November 2009 was $155,000 down 4.3 percent from $162,000 in November 2008. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.
“Typically, sales trail off as we enter the holiday months but this year many buyers decided now is the time to make that move. November’s sales surge reflects the rush to beat the tax credit deadline, which has been extended through April 30, 2010 and should continue in the months ahead to motivate buyers to get off the fence and take advantage of these ideal buyer market conditions,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City.
Adds Onorato: “The last three months have seen home price declines trending downward and this is a positive sign that prices are beginning to stabilize. As prices stabilize and inventories shrink we will see a return to a more balanced housing market.”
In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), year-over-year home sales were positive for the fifth consecutive month, up 71.6 percent to 6,826 homes sold (single-family and condominiums) in November 2009 compared to 3,978 homes sold in November 2008. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $189,000 in November 2009, down 9.1 percent from $207,995 in November 2008.
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.93 percent in November 2009, down from 5.0 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in November it averaged 6.13 percent.
“Forecasts for December, January and February indicate sales increasing robustly in Illinois and Chicago on an annual basis, but median price movements in Illinois hold the potential for a mild recovery that is not, as yet, evident in the Chicago market,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois.
Adds Hewings: “The economic news has been dominated by the national job numbers; the national economy shed only 11,000 jobs in November, a dramatic decrease in the rate of job decline over the first part of the year and even over the prior three months when job losses had averaged 135,000 a month. Illinois has recorded 23 months of job declines since the recession began in December 2007.”
Illinois’ official unemployment rate in November dipped slightly to 10.9 percent (down from 11.0 percent in October) but remained above the national rate of 10.0 percent in November.
In the city of Chicago, November total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were up 69.9 percent to 1,859 sales compared to 1,094 homes sold in November 2008. The city of Chicago median price in November 2009 was $215,000 down 3.4 percent compared to $222,500 a year ago in November 2008.
“November’s city transactions point to an increase in the number of units sold over the same period in 2008. The first-time homebuyer tax credit has provided an excellent incentive to help buyers off the fence,” said Genie Birch, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and a broker associate with Koenig & Strey GMAC, Chicago. “We are monitoring the movement of sales as the year closes, continuing to see distressed properties absorbed and the correction of the Chicago marketplace continue.”
According to the IAR report, total home sales (single-family and condominiums) comparing November 2009 to the same month in 2008 were up in 65 of 99 Illinois counties; 40 percent of reporting counties also logged median price increases.
The following Illinois counties reported both sales and median price increases in the month of November: Adams County sales up 63.6 percent, median price up 13.5 percent to $101,000; Lake County sales up 60.7 percent, median price up 7.0 percent to $198,000; Macon County sales up 8.0 percent, median price up 6.0 percent to $88,000; Peoria County sales up 28.0 percent, median price up 4.4 percent to $113,000; Sangamon County sales up 72.1 percent, median price up 10.7 percent to $115,000; and Whiteside County sales up 1.8 percent, median price up 3.1 percent to $82,500.
Year-to-date January through November 2009 sales statewide were down 3.1 percent to 99,235 homes sold compared to 102,372 homes sold in the same 11-month period in 2008. The year-to-date median price was down 14.9 percent to $157,500 compared to $185,000 in 2008.
In the Chicagoland PMSA year-to-date January through November 2009 sales were down 2.4 percent to 63,538 homes sold compared to 65,086 homes sold in the same 11-month period in 2008. The year-to-date median price was down 18.2 percent to $197,945 compared to $242,000 in 2008.
In the city of Chicago year-to-date January through November 2009 sales were down 10.4 percent to 17,633 homes sold compared to 19,681 homes sold in the same 11-month period in 2008. The year-to-date median price was down 22.9 percent to $225,000 compared to $291,800 in 2008.
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.
Mary Schaefer/Ann Londrigan