About Stephanie Sievers

Stephanie Sievers is Senior Editor for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. She serves as Senior Editor for IAR publications including the Illinois REALTOR® magazine and all other IAR publications. She is responsible for developing content for the Illinois REALTOR® Weekly Connection e-newsletter, coordinates the IAR Twitter account content at ILREALTOR and plans and develops content for videos. She assists in developing and writing content for the IAR blog. She also is involved in researching and drafting news releases and coordinates the news media distribution database and newsclips reports for the Association. She also assists in IAR spokesperson training seminars and is involved in development of association briefing materials on issues. She assists with the housing statistics program and reports.

Morning Minute: Taking a closer look at the Gen X homebuyer

Home purchases are picking up among Generation X consumers as more have built up equity and are ready for move up properties, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. As home prices have risen and the job market has strengthened, the Gen X share of the home buying market has climbed to 28 percent compared to 26 percent in 2016. Read more.

In other headlines:

Forget the Snow: Spring Has Sprung in the Nation’s Housing Markets – Realtor.com

6 Home Tax Deduction Traps to Avoid: Do You Know What They Are? – Realtor.com

CoreLogic Issues US Residential Foreclosure Crisis Decade in Review – CoreLogic


Illinois home sales, prices head higher in January

The start of a new year brought renewed interest from homebuyers who drove home sales and the statewide median price higher in January, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in January 2017 totaled 8,502 homes sold, up 1.2 percent from 8,404 in January 2016.

The statewide median price in January was $172,000, up 5.5 percent from January 2016 when the median price was $163,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“The bitter winter weather everyone anticipates in January never really materialized, and as a result it looks as if plenty of buyers were out looking for homes,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills. “Because inventories are still so tight, January was seen by many as a good opportunity to get out in advance of the busier spring selling season.”

The time it took to sell a home in January averaged 69 days, down from 79 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 49,724 homes for sale, a 15.5 percent decline from January 2016 when there were 58,830 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.15 percent in January 2017, a decrease from 4.20 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In January 2016 it averaged 3.87 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in January 2017 totaled 6,159 homes sold, up 0.6 percent from January 2016 sales of 6,125 homes. The median price in January 2017 was $210,000 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 10.5 percent from $190,000 in January 2016.

“Illinois median prices have already recovered to the pre-bubble levels while those in the Chicago PMSA are very close,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “Forecasts for median prices and the REAL Housing Price Indices (REAL HPI) also indicate moderate annual growth for both Illinois and the Chicago PMSA with a slightly stronger growth forecast by the REAL HPI for the next three months.”

According to the data, forty-three (43) Illinois counties reported sales gains for January 2017 over previous-year numbers, including Winnebago County, up 16.6 percent with 218 units sold; St. Clair County, up 15.4 percent with 165 units sold; and Cook County, up 4.1 percent with 3,493 units sold. Forty-nine (49) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Lake County, up 15.4 percent to $225,000; Peoria County, up 14.0 percent to $112,900; and DuPage County, up 8.2 percent to $250,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 9.3 percent year-over-year home sales increase in January 2017 with 1,528 sales, up from 1,398 in January 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in January 2017 was $256,000, up 12.4 percent compared to January 2016 when it was $227,750.

“We came out of the gates blazing, with greater activity this January than in years past, as consumers emerged from the holidays educated, prepared and ready to make decisions,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “Our year-over-year numbers continue to demonstrate the strength of the Chicago market, as properties are being snatched up at a pace rarely seen, with higher prices across the board and rising interest rates – trends that will continue (barring ongoing inventory concerns) into the active spring season.”

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 Feb 7, 2017 for the period Jan.1 through Jan. 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 44,000 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.

Morning Minute: Tips for getting a jump-start on your home search

Thinking about buying a home this spring? Then get a jump-start on the process by reading “The Early Bird Guide to Buying a Home,” from realtor.com. The article offers a variety of action steps you can take now to make your search easier later including: finding a buyer’s agent, getting your financial house in order and beginning to look at the homes available on the market. Read the full article for all of the tips.

In other headlines:

Area home sales jump 12.7 percent in January – State Journal-Register

When Buying, Selling and Renovating, it’s an Animal House, Say Realtors® – National Association of REALTORS®

Morning Minute: Fourth quarter brings home price gains

Despite historically low housing inventory, buyer demand remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2016 and helped propel home prices higher in Illinois and in many U.S. metro areas. What’s ahead for early 2017?

Expect home prices to experience continued positive growth in the first quarter of this year with home sales also increasing at a mild growth rate, according to a new first quarter forecast from the Regional Economics Application Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Download the forecast, which also breaks down expectations for the state’s 10 metropolitan statistical areas (or MSAs). You can find additional information about the Illinois housing market at Illinois REALTORS® MarketStats.

Nationally, the fourth quarter housing market was stronger in a majority of U.S. metro areas, the National Association of REALTORS® reported today. Home prices were back to previous peak levels in more than half of the markets NAR measures. Read NAR’s news release on the data and market trends.

“Buyer interest stayed elevated in most areas thanks to mortgage rates under 4 percent for most of the year and the creation of 1.7 million new jobs edging the job market closer to full employment. At the same time, the inability for supply to catch up with this demand drove prices higher and continued to put a tight affordability squeeze on those trying to reach the market,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in the release.

In other headlines:

Mortgage Rates in Holding Pattern – Freddie Mac

The Number One Design Style for 2017 Is … – NAR’s Styled, Staged & Sold


Morning Minute: REALTORS® optimistic about this year’s market

Looking ahead to the next six months, U.S. REALTORS® say they are broadly optimistic about ongoing growth in the housing market, particularly among single-family properties, according to the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey Report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Read the commentary from NAR and find charts and graphics of regional expectations. According to the survey, Illinois REALTORS® are expecting a strong six-month outlook for single-family homes, and moderate growth for townhomes and condominiums.

In other headlines:

5 Things Every Loving Homeowner Should Know About Their Own Home – Realtor.com

Time-Sucking Remodeling Mistakes You’ll Wish You Could Erase – HouseLogic