About Stephanie Sievers

Stephanie Sievers is Senior Editor for the Illinois REALTORS®.

Illinois home sales inched slightly higher in October

October Housing InfographicStatewide home sales shifted back into positive territory in October following several months of declines and median prices continued to make year-over-year gains, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in October 2017 totaled 12,796 homes sold, up 0.3 percent from 12,764 in October 2016.

The statewide median price in October was $185,000, up 3.9 percent from October 2016, when the median price was $178,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“The housing market cooled in some areas with the weather in October, but the underlying desire by buyers to get into a new home remains a constant,” said Matt Difanis, ABR, CIPS, GRI, president of Illinois REALTORS® and broker-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign. “The continued drop in the average time it takes to sell a home in the state coupled with an increase in median prices over last October shows that even in what’s traditionally a slower time many people are willing to wade into the market and make aggressive offers.”

The time it took to sell a home in October averaged 54 days, down from 60 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 57,911 homes for sale, a 10.4 percent decline from October 2016 when there were 64,601 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.90 percent in October 2017, an increase from 3.81 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In October 2016, it averaged 3.47 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in October 2017 totaled 8,994 homes sold, up 0.3 percent from October 2016 sales of 8,969 homes. The median price in October 2017 was $222,500 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 3.5 percent from $215,000 in October 2016.

“While consumer sentiment about the economy appears positive, there is still hesitation about the housing market,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “However, mortgage applications have increased and prices and sales in both Illinois and Chicago increased on an annual basis, a trend that is forecast to continue into 2018.”

According to the data, forty-three (43) Illinois counties reported sales gains for October 2017 over previous-year numbers, including Rock Island County, up 19.5 percent with 135 units sold; DuPage County, up 5.3 percent with 1,066 units sold; and Madison County, up 1.0 percent with 304 units sold. Fifty-five (55) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Peoria County, up 13.8 percent to $119,500; Lake County, up 11.1 percent to $227,750; and Sangamon County, up 5.0 percent to $132,450.

The city of Chicago saw year-over-year home sales hold steady in October 2017 with 2,047 sales, compared to 2,046 in October 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in October 2017 was $262,000, up 0.7 percent compared to October 2016 when it was $260,100.

“Steady seems to be the name of the game, and this fall is proving no different,” said Rebecca Thomson, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Vice President of Agent Development at @properties. “Although inventory continues to tighten, we now see an increase in new construction that is fueling price gains, particularly in the condo market. As we enter the holiday season, between the healthy economy and strong demand, these trends show little signs of slowing down.”

Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Nov. 7, 2017 for the period Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, 2017. 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.

Illinois REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 47,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, Illinois REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.

Using the 1031 exchange option with investment properties

Wagner 1031 Session

Illinois REALTORS® President-elect Dan Wagner at the 1031 exchange session.

The 1031 exchange can be an important tool for deferring tax burdens when buying and selling “like-kind” investment properties, according to panelists at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo session, “1031 Exchange: Another Tool in Your Toolbox.”

Illinois REALTORS® President-elect Dan Wagner was among the panelists. He is the senior vice president of government relations for the Oak Brook-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies.

The 1031 exchange option can allow investment property owners to defer taxes such as capital gains taxes, state taxes and more when they sell one investment property and buy another qualifying property. Another option is investing through a Delaware Statutory Trust, of DST.

Want to learn more about the 1031 exchange? Conference Live 2017 interviewed Wagner before his session about what’s new on the 1031 front. Some good news is that the latest federal tax reform proposals do not include any changes to the 1031 exchange option, he said.

Miller, other state REALTORS® of the Year recognized at NAR Conference

Sue Miller, center, at NAR’s celebration of the 2017 REALTORS® of the Year

McHenry REALTOR® Sue Miller, the 2017 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year, was recognized along with other top state REALTORS® from around the country in a celebration during the general session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo on Saturday.

Miller and her colleagues had been honored by their home states this year for exemplifying professional excellence in the real estate industry. During Saturday’s event, they took to the stage to be recognized by their national peers.

Miller is the managing broker of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in McHenry. During her career, she has championed REALTOR® education and professionalism, political advocacy and the importance of being involved in the REALTOR® organization at all levels.


Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps talks with NAR’s Elizabeth Mendenhall during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo general session.

The general session also featured a conversation with 23-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps and 2017 NAR President-elect Elizabeth Mendenhall.

Phelps talked about the importance of setting goals and putting in the tough work to realize a dream.

His motto is “Dream, Plan, Reach,” and Phelps said the same goal-setting mindset and determination that helped him achieve his childhood dreams of winning in the Olympics can be used by REALTORS® to reach their own goals.

“Nothing was going to stop me from achieving what I wanted,” said Michael Phelps. “If it is something important to you, you have to get it done.”

Wagner, Ruggieri honored with 2017 National Commercial Awards

REALTORS® Alex Ruggieri and Dan Wagner

Illinois REALTORS®  President-elect Dan Wagner and REALTOR®  Alex Ruggieri were both honored for excellence in commercial real estate Saturday during the REALTORS®  Conference & Expo in Chicago on Saturday.

Wagner, of Wheaton, is the senior vice president of government relations for the Oak Brook-based Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate and finance organizations.

Ruggieri, CCIM, CIPS, CRE, GRI, is the senior investment advisor
with SVN-Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign. Ruggieri is the chair of NAR’s Commercial Leadership Forum, where the awards winners were honored on Saturday.

Five takeaways on current housing market trends

Economists Ken Rosen and Lawrence Yun, center, answer audience questions after the residential housing presentation.

Did you know today’s U.S. homeowners are staying in their homes longer?

Homeowner tenure now averages 10 years compared to the past when they were more likely to stay put for an average of 6 years before moving, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

Yun shared some of the current trends and issues facing the U.S. housing market in his presentation, “Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum,” at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago on Friday. He was joined by Ken Rosen, an economist with Rosen Consulting Group.

Here are four more takeaways from the presentation:

  • Housing inventory is historically low and some areas are harder hit than others – Total U.S. inventory is averaging about four months of supply. But some communities, even in the Midwest, have even less. Kansas City has a two-month supply of inventory while Austin is just shy of that.
  • Sellers fear the “empty chair” scenario – Because of the low inventory, some sellers who would otherwise be ready to list are waiting because they fear that if they stand up and sell their home, there won’t be enough “empty chairs,” or housing stock for them to find a replacement.
  • First-time buyers face more hurdles in coming up with a down payment -Rising home prices are benefiting sellers who are gaining more home equity, making it easier for them as repeat buyers to come up with a down payment. Higher home prices are having the opposite effect for first-time buyers.
  • More new housing stock could alleviate some of the inventory crunch – Single-family housing starts are now well below a 50-year average and recent natural disasters are putting an even greater strain on available housing in some areas. An influx of new construction would provide needed inventory.