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

Illinois home sales improve in August despite economy

The Illinois home sales report for August shows a market working to recover amid continued economic uncertainty and job worries.

According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® August report, total home sales statewide in August were up 2.6% from July. In the nine-county Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area* home sales moved up 1.3% from July.

Buyers: At this time buyers have compelling reasons to buy including high affordability conditions from record low mortgage interest rates and lower home prices, plus a large selection of homes on the market.

  • Year-to-date sales remain in positive territory, up 9.2% statewide over the same period (January through August) in 2009; home sales are up 15.8% year-to-date in Chicagoland.
  • Home sales for the month of August were down 21.9% statewide compared to August 2009; down 19.6% in Chicagoland.

Sellers: For sellers, pricing remains the number one issue. The home sales price must be competitive relative to homes for sale in the area.

  • The statewide median price in August was $158,000, down 4.2% from August 2009.
  • In Chicagoland the median price in August was $197,000, off 3.9% from August 2009.

Outlook: Sales will remain soft in coming months as we enter the slower fall and winter season, plus there are far fewer people in the pipeline to buy a home in the immediate months after the tax credit expired.

  • In the latest forecast from the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, economists expect sales to continue to grow modestly month-to-month in September and October then lower in November.
  • Median prices are expected to decline over the three months in both Chicago and Illinois.
  • Forecasts for Illinois employment over the next 12 months indicate considerable uncertainty; after five months of positive job growth, the last three months have seen employment declines.

*The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Other perspectives on the housing news

The Illinois housing market is stronger now than a year ago. Despite the July home sales data and flurry of doomsday headlines, year-to-date home sales in Illinois remain solidly in positive territory, up 15.0 percent through July. And the statewide median sale price is holding steady (off just -0.9 percent from the same period last year).

In the nine-county Chicagoland region* sales are up 22.8 percent year-over-year from January through July. The median price remains down 5.1 percent year-to-date, largely due to the impact of distressed property sales sold at a discount.

Several areas of the state are seeing positive sales and median prices in the year-to-date tally including Jo Daviess, Lake, Jackson, Menard, Sangamon, St. Clair and Tazewell counties.

Here are some other perspectives on the housing market.

“I’m seeing a number of buyers ‘get back in the game’ after taking the summer off from house hunting,” says REALTOR® Kim Keefe of Re/Max Plaza in McHenry.

“If I didn’t do any more business the rest of the year, it’d already be better than last year,” said REALTOR® Mike Stodola of Koenig & Strey Real Living in Libertyville, quoted at the end of today’s Chicago Tribune story.

“I still believe our local real estate market is trying to improve, and the discussion of another recession and the nervousness on Wall Street is not contributing to positive consumer confidence,” writes Chip Wagner of A.L. Wagner Appraisal Group in Naperville on his blog. “As I have said many times over, we need the unemployment to get better and that will solve many of our real estate problems.”

Some local markets are faring better.

“I tend to go with the theory that all real estate is local, and not pay as much attention maybe as some do to the national trends because what happens down the street is a lot more important to us,” said REALTOR® Jeff Cross of Re/Max Classic in Carterville in a WSIL-TV news story. “Things like new schools and economic development tend to have a positive influence on local real estate trends.”

Springfield and Decatur, Ill., were among six bright spots noted in a Christian Science Monitor story. In an otherwise down market nationwide these markets are “where home values are rising and median prices are already well ahead of their peak during the housing bubble.”

Housing demand will come albeit slowly for now.

In Chicago Sun-Times columnist David Roeder’s condo story published today, one perspective offered by an industry expert is that “life will go on” even though sales are slower. “Singles graduate and move away from their parents. Couples marry, have children and start looking for a little more space and a new school district. All of that…will feed a demand for homes, from studio condos to move-up Georgians in the suburbs.”

* The nine-county Chicagland region in this report includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.

Illinois home prices up in January

One up-tick does not a trend make, but the increase in the statewide median price in January (up 0.2 percent from January 2009) is positive movement and marks the first year-over-year price increase since September 2007.

The statewide median price in January was $145,300, up 0.2 percent from $145,000 in January of 2009, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS® latest housing market report. Sales were up 14.0 percent statewide, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases.

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), year-over-year home sales were positive for the seventh straight month, up 29.2 percent in January. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $175,000, down 5.4 percent.

“We are seeing an accelerated spring market despite the snow and cold in Illinois with the homebuyer tax credit the driving factor for rising home sales,” said REALTOR® Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City. “Current conditions remain favorable for buyers with interest rates still hovering near 5 percent and just over two months remaining to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credits before the April 30 deadline to have a purchase contract in place for first-time buyers and current homeowners who want to buy their next home.”

In the IAR report, University of Illinois economist Geoff Hewings noted foreclosed properties continue to exert downward pressure on median prices in the Chicagoland region but less so statwide.

His forecast through April calls for continued home sales increases in the range of 1-14% statewide and 18-50% in the Chicagoland PMSA. Median prices will fluctuate and fall just under 2 percent statewide and in the range of 6 percent below comparable prices from the same months in 2009 in the Chicagoland PMSA.

(The Chicagoland PMSA includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.)