Illinois home prices increase in April; Sales lower amid tight inventory

Homes sold faster and prices rose, but home sales slowed in April with seasonally low inventory levels, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in April 2017 totaled 13,958 homes sold, down 3.4 percent from 14,453 in April 2016.

The statewide median price in April was $200,000, up 7.5 percent from April 2016, when the median price was $186,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Sellers flooded the market in March, and as a result inventories were struggling to keep pace with demand in April,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Orland Hills. “It’s clear from the relatively short average time to sell that buyers really do want to find a home. The problem is they are having to work much harder to find one that meets their criteria due to a shortage of options.”

The time it took to sell a home in April averaged 61 days, down from 68 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 54,666 homes for sale, a 15.3 percent decline from April 2016 when there were 64,554 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.05 percent in April 2017, a decrease from 4.20 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In April 2016 it averaged 3.60 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in April 2017 totaled 10,157 homes sold, down 2.3 percent from April 2016 sales of 10,397 homes. The median price in April 2017 was $242,000 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 5.2 percent from $230,000 in April 2016.

“While sales will continue the usual early summer upward growth, there are some sharp differences in the forecasts for median prices” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.  “The forecasts for median price indicate continued positive changes, but the REAL Housing Price Index (HPI), which compares specific housing characteristics, suggests declines and may also be reflecting the employment losses in the state over the past two months.”

According to the data, thirty-four (34) Illinois counties reported sales gains for April 2017 over previous-year numbers, including Madison County, up 11.0 percent with 353 units sold; Rock Island County, up 1.3 percent with 153 units sold; and Kane County, up 0.2 percent with 662 units sold. Fifty-four (54) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Will County, up 12.2 percent to $218,700; Winnebago County, up 8.5 percent to $108,450; and Cook County, up 5.5 percent to $253,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 4.4 percent year-over-year home sales decline in April 2017 with 2,586 sales, down from 2,706 in April 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in April 2017 was $297,150, up 3.9 percent compared to April 2016 when it was $286,000.

“With the spring market underway, buyer demand has not abated in the least,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “Rather, increased competition for homes that are priced well and move-in ready will continue to drive prices upward. Both motivated sellers and buyers should be prepared for these conditions to continue in the coming months.”

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 May 7, 2017 for the period April 1 through April 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 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

NAR Pending Home Sales on the Upswing

The March NAR Pending Home Sales Index rose 5.3 percent to 102.9 from 97.7 in February and is 21.1 percent above March 2009 when it was 85.0. Watch this podcast with Lawrence Yun, chief economist with NAR as he discusses home sales trends and what may be anticipated in the next few months with home sale activity and home values. Yun is seeing broad-based recovery in most housing markets nationwide.

The Midwest index increased 1.2 percent to 98.9 and is 18.5 percent above a year ago.

Illinois housing market marks sixth months of home sales gains

IAR released its February home sales report on March 22 with statewide sales up for six consecutive months and home sales in the nine-county Chicagoland PMSA up for eight months running.

“We are encouraged by more signs of improvement in the Illinois housing market spurred by the tremendous buyer market conditions,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City in the report. “This particular spring market really is the time for anyone thinking of buying a home in Illinois to make their move given the combination of low mortgage interest rates, affordable prices and the federal tax credit for first-time buyers and long-time homeowners, which ends April 30.”

February stats at-a-glance

  • Statewide total home sales – up 15.7%
  • Median price – down 3.6% to $135,000
  • Chicagoland PMSA* total home sales – up 32.0%
  • Median price – down 10.3% to $165,000

Here are some observations from the latest forecast from economist Geoff Hewings, director of the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory:

  • Month-to-month sales growth will be positive in March, April and May 2010; for Chicago, the range will be 5-25% while for Illinois that range will be from 5-30% with March the strongest months for both areas.
  • Median prices in Illinois and Chicago will fluctuate month-to-month, dropping in April but rebounding slightly in May.
  • Illinois’ unemployment rate increased to 11.3% in February, up slightly from 11.1% in January; the national rate stood at 9.7%.
  • Housing inventories, fueled by continuing additions of foreclosed properties continue to dampen housing price recovery in the Illinois and Chicago markets.
  • Congressional action on a jobs bill, an accelerating pace of housing mortgage adjustments and continuing but modest growth in some sectors of the economy present some positive signs for the economy.

The National Association of REALTORS® reported today existing-home sales declined slightly in February, with modest gains in the Northeast and Midwest offset by softer sales in the South and West. 

According to NAR economist Lawrence Yun: “The key test for a durable recovery comes in the next few months as the tax credit deadline approaches. If we see a surge in home buying comparable to last fall in the months leading up to the original tax credit deadline, then enough inventory should be absorbed to ensure a broad home price stabilization.”

NAR also reported distressed homes, generally sold at discount, accounted for 35 percent of sales in February and an NAR practitioner survey found first-time buyers purchased 42 percent of homes in February, up from 40 percent in January. Investors accounted for 19 percent of transactions in February, compared with 17 percent in January; the remaining sales were to repeat buyers.

* Sales and price information is generated from a survey of Multiple Listing Service sales reported by 37 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations. 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.