SPRINGFIELD, IL – October 26, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Statewide Illinois home sales increased year-over-year in the month of September for the first time since March 2006 with first-time buyers driving the rebound in sales. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest report, statewide total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) in September 2009 reached 10,350 homes sold, up 3.3 percent from September 2008 sales of 10,018. The Illinois median price in September 2009 was $160,000 down 9.3 percent from $176,450 in September 2008. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.
“Buyers taking advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit were clearly out in force in most regions statewide in September and thus building momentum for a recovery in the housing market,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. “Home sale gains this month show the tax credit is working and should be extended through 2010 as it is helping to stabilize home prices and creating thousands of jobs that rely on housing. Today’s lower prices and interest rates are very appealing to consumers, but it’s the tax credit that is attracting people to homeownership. Not renewing the tax credit could potentially jeopardize a full recovery needed to get the economy back on track.”
In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), year-over-year home sales were positive for the third consecutive month, up 5.9 percent to 6,862 total home sales (single-family and condominiums) sold in September 2009 compared to 6,477 homes sold in September 2008. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $199,000 in September 2009, down 10.8 percent from $223,000 in September 2008.
“For sellers it is very important to set the right price to produce a sale in this market, which has two distinct levels of pricing—traditional sales and sales of distressed properties,” said Onorato, broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City.
According to Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois: “There are signs that the housing market may be signaling a change in direction, although the prospect of continued large numbers of foreclosed properties will continue to exert downward pressure on prices in a market in which supply still significantly exceeds demand. The news on the sales front is encouraging and even the price declines seem to be moderating. However, the prospects of a jobless recovery from the recession will continue to exert restraint on a more robust recovery of the housing market. Illinois tends to enter recessions later than the U.S. and take longer to recover.”
Illinois’ official unemployment rate in September reached 10.5 percent and was above the 9.8 percent national unemployment rate.
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 5.06 percent in September 2009, down 0.21 from the 5.27 average rate during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in September it averaged 6.05 percent.
In the city of Chicago, September total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were up 5.8 percent to 1,918 sales compared to 1,813 homes sold in September 2008. The city of Chicago median price in September 2009 was $225,000 down 16.2 percent compared to $268,600 a year ago in September 2008.
“While we see a significant increase of sales, we continue to see distressed properties moving the marketplace,” said Genie Birch, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and a broker associate with Koenig & Strey GMAC, Chicago. “The decrease in the median home price is also reflective of this trend as investors purchase short sale and foreclosure inventory in the city. It is more imperative than ever before that legislators extend and expand the homebuyer tax credit, not only to encourage more buyers in the market, but to afford those who are looking to buy in Chicago a tax credit feasible for the urban condo market.”
According to the IAR report, total home sales (single-family and condominiums) comparing September 2009 to the same month in 2008 were up in 39 of 99 Illinois counties reporting including Champaign, up 15.7 percent; Cook, up 9.2 percent; DuPage, up 6.6 percent; Kankakee, up 2.9 percent; Lake, up 1.2 percent; Rock Island, up 3.6 percent; Sangamon, up 13.5 percent; and Will, up 4.6 percent.
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