Stable home prices, positive economic signals

Today the Illinois Association of REALTORS® released the November home sales report showing three consecutive months of median price stability statewide while sales are significantly lower than a year ago as expected. (Last year sales ramped up in November as buyers rushed to beat the original homebuyer tax credit deadline of November 30.) The national report also noted stable home prices.

Fully half of Illinois counties reported median price increases or no change in November compared to the same month in 2009 (50 of 100 counties reporting). Notably, year-to-date sales through November remain positive, up 0.3 percent, in the nine-county Chicagoland region boosted by year-over-year gains in Cook, Kane and Lake counties specifically.

As we’ve said before, a healthy housing market hinges on consumers feeling more confident about jobs and the economy. And although coming along very slowly—and much too slow for measurable impact in home sales just yet—an economic recovery is showing signs of life with these positive reports in recent weeks.

  • Holiday shoppers are splurging here and there with better-than-expected retail sales.
  • The Illinois unemployment rate fell below the nation’s in November for the first time since January 2007 and so far this year, Illinois has added +54,700 jobs, a growth rate of 1.0 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. (The national growth rate is 0.7 percent.)
  • Manufacturing productivity is up and this has been a top sector for job gains in Illinois in recent months.
  • Consumer confidence in November edged up to its highest level in five months.
  • The Chicago downtown office market is on the upswing, according to a Crain’s Chicago Business report: “A positive sign after two bruising years.”
  • “The U.S. economy is showing some sparks of life in late 2010:” Conference Board Leading Economic Index.
  • Home foreclosure activity dropped significantly in November in Illinois and nationwide according to the latest report by RealtyTrac.

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