SPRINGFIELD, IL – April 20, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Home sales in Illinois rose for the second consecutive month in March showing some momentum heading into the spring market, while sales remain lower than last year’s heightened totals from the tax credit. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest report, statewide home sales (including single family and condominiums) in March 2011 totaled 7,833 homes sold, up 40.0 percent from 5,596 sales in February 2011 and down 17.9 percent from March 2010 sales of 9,538 homes.
The median price in March was $130,000, up 1.6 percent from $128,000 in February 2011 and down 12.2 percent from last year in March when it was $148,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.
“The Illinois housing market is seasonal and we typically get a big boost in sales from February to March so it’s a positive sign to see this pace remain true as the market works to return to normal after the post-boom downturn and last year’s homebuyer tax credit effect,” said REALTOR® Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, ABR, CRB, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and the Development and Operations Coordinator for Traders Realty in Peoria. “More than one-third of Illinois homes sold in March closed under $100,000 and 69.3 percent under $200,000; this combined with the continued impact from distressed property sales contribute to the lower median price.”
Adds Whitehurst: “It’s worth repeating that market conditions today are optimal for buyers. Interest rates remain below five percent and home prices are lower making affordability at an all-time high for investors and buyers with strong credit and the financial wherewithal. Sellers have an opportunity now to use the spring market when buyer interest is higher and the weather more cooperative to set the right price to sell.”
In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single family and condominiums) totaled 5,324 homes sold, up 41.3 percent from 3,769 sales in February 2011 and down 15.6 percent from March 2010 sales of 6,309 homes. The median price in March 2011 was $158,000 in the Chicago region, up 3.6 percent from $152,500 in February 2011 and down 14.1 percent compared to last year in March when it was $184,000.
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.86 percent in March 2011, down from 5.0 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in March it averaged 5.03 percent.
“In March the Illinois and Chicago housing markets were warming up as expected and as the sales forecast reveals, the housing sales volume is expected to increase for the next three months with a monthly growth in the 10-15 percent range for Illinois and 7-23 percent range for the Chicagoland region.” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “Comparing the housing market in 2011 with 2010 and 2009, the sales volume is recovering; however, the housing prices remain well below prior year levels although the trend suggests some modest price recovery. The removal of foreclosed properties from the inventory will have long-term positive benefits to the housing market. However, in the near-term the presence of these properties serves as a significant break on any upward trend in prices.”
Adds Hewings: “The job market continues to provide some positive signs. The February unemployment rate in Illinois fell for the 13th consecutive month; the last time the state rate was below 9.0 percent was two years ago in February 2009.”
In the city of Chicago, March home sales (single family and condominiums) totaled 1,450, up 37.3 percent from 1,056 sales in the previous month and down 20.1 percent from 1,814 homes sold in March 2010.
The city of Chicago median price in March 2011 was $191,000 up 7.6 percent compared to $177,500 in February 2011 and down 8.6 percent from a year ago in March when it was $209,000.
“In March 2011 over the same period in 2010, the city of Chicago saw an increase in the Chicago condo median price to $275,000 from $267,500 in March 2010. If activity remains steady, we will continue to see absorption of inventory in the traditional market, given more lending options become consumer-friendly to qualified buyers,” said Mabel Guzman, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and a REALTOR® with Envision Real Estate LLC, Chicago. “We remain highly engaged in the issues relating to government sponsored enterprise (GSE) reform, as any changes can hinder borrowers from being able to purchase a home. We are closely monitoring current trends and the distressed marketplace, along with appraisals, to determine their collective impact on values and housing affordability in the city of Chicago.”
Forty-two of 98 Illinois counties reporting showed year-over-year median price increases or no change for the month of March including Kankakee, up 10.4 percent to $122,500; Macon, up 8.4 percent to $94,000; Will, up 6.3 percent to $170,000; and Woodford, up 43.4 percent to $162,000.
Sales and price information is generated from a survey of Multiple Listing Service sales reported by 35 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC for the period March 1 through March 31, 2011. The Chicagoland 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.
Mary Schaefer/Ann Londrigan