About Stephanie Sievers

Stephanie Sievers is Senior Editor for the Illinois REALTORS®.

Morning Minute: Foreign investment in U.S. real estate at record high

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International interest in U.S. residential real estate has jumped with foreign buyers and recent immigrants buying $153 billion in property between April 2016 and March 2017, marking a 49 percent increase, according the National Association of REALTORS® 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate. Properties purchased by foreign buyers were up 32 percent during the same time period.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • Purchases by foreign buyers accounted for 10 percent of dollar volume of existing-home sales
  • The majority of buyers come from China, Canada, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom
  • Nearly half of all foreign purchases were in Florida, California and Texas
  • Illinois ranks No. 6 among top destinations for foreign buyers
  • Read more from NAR and find an infographic you can share

In other headlines:

8 Home Projects with a High ROI – Styled, Staged & Sold blog

Baby Boomers Who Won’t Sell Are Dominating the Housing Market – Bloomberg

Morning Minute: As summer market continues, mortgage rates holding steady

Fixed, mortgage interest rates hovered below 4 percent this week, with averages holding steady from last week, Freddie Mac reports. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.93 percent this week, up slightly from 3.92 percent last week. The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.18 percent, down from 3.20 last week. Read more from Freddie Mac.

In other headlines:

Employment increase surpasses expectations in July – HousingWire

6 Off-Putting Home Features That Shouldn’t Be Deal Breakers – Realtor.com

Morning Minute: Don’t make these mistakes when pricing a home to sell

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Setting the right listing price is a crucial step in selling a home and Realtor.com offers some tips in the article, “How the Canniest Sellers Price Their Homes.”

It offers a few tips to consider: Don’t confuse sentimental value with actual value and don’t expect to get a dollar-for-dollar return on all the renovations and improvements you made on the home.

But one of the biggest pieces of advice for prospective sellers is to work with a REALTOR® — a market expert who knows the community, knows what buyers are looking for and are willing to pay and knows how to set a price that will help your home sell quickly. Read more.

In other headlines:

All in the Family: Multigenerational Living Makes a Comeback – Realtor.com

Buyer Blocks: 4 Factors Keeping Millennials From Owning a Home – Realtor.com

Illinois median prices climb in June while home sales hold steady

Illinois home sales largely held steady and the statewide median price increased in June as motivated buyers were ready to move quickly amid tighter seasonal inventory, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in June 2017 totaled 19,066 homes sold, up 0.3 percent from 19,001 in June 2016.

The statewide median price in June was $216,000, up 5.9 percent from June 2016, when the median price was $204,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Plummeting inventories continue to pose significant challenges for buyers in many areas of the state,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Orland Hills. “The lack of homes for sale in the most popular price bands is making it critical for buyers to be ready to hustle when it comes time to make an offer.”

The time it took to sell a home in June averaged 49 days, down from 55 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 59,088 homes for sale, a 14.0 percent decline from June 2016 when there were 68,720 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.90 percent in June 2017, a decrease from 4.01 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In June 2016, it averaged 3.57 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in June 2017 totaled 14,052 homes sold, up 1.0 percent from June 2016 sales of 13,916 homes. The median price in June 2017 was $252,500 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 4.1 percent from $242,500 in June 2016.

“While the housing market continues to record gains in prices and sales, the inventory problem remains an important issue,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “Hopefully, now that the state has a budget, a recovering state economy will encourage more investment in housing – both new construction and investment by first-time buyers”

According to the data, forty-three (43) Illinois counties reported sales gains for June 2017 over previous-year numbers, including Rock Island County, up 15.7 percent with 206 units sold; St. Clair County, up 10.7 percent with 361 units sold; and Lake County, up 3.2 percent with 1,357 units sold.  Sixty-one (61) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Champaign County, up 9.3 percent to $168,000; Kane County, up 8.6 percent to $249,800; and Cook County, up 3.1 percent to $263,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 1.7 percent year-over-year home sales decline in June 2017 with 3,266 sales, down from 3,321 in June 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in June 2017 was $308,000, up 2.7 percent compared to June 2016 when it was $299,900.

“In June, the market exhibited a bit of a holding pattern,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “Inventory was a contributing factor, as once you sell your home, you’ll need to then buy another – so, sellers are being firm on their pricing, and while some buyers are willing to wait for their perfect home, other motivated buyers are driving down the time on market. As the weather continues to heat up, people will get down to business, provided the price is right.”

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 July 7, 2017 for the period June 1 through June 30, 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.

Morning Minute: Fixed mortgage rates drop to lowest level of the year, Freddie Mac reports

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The 30-year, fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.88 percent this week, falling to the lowest level so far this year, Freddie Mac reports today. The 15-year, fixed rate averaged 3.17 percent, the same as last week. Read more from Freddie Mac.

From Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti: “The 30-year mortgage rate fell 2 basis points to 3.88 percent this week. However, the majority of our survey was conducted prior to Tuesday’s sell-off in the bond market which drove Treasury yields higher. Mortgage rates may increase in next week’s survey if Treasury yields continue to rise.”

In other headlines:

Could You Rent Out Your Old House While Trying to Sell It? Should You? – Realtor.com

Urban Institute: Access to credit stays tight as FICO scores drop – HousingWire