Single-Family Home Sales Provide Positive Chicago Real Estate News

The Chicago real estate market posted an increase in sales and median price for the month of February, due mostly to the single-family home sector.
Total home sales last month rose 2.1 percent from January in the city of Chicago, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS latest report.
The median home price saw an increase too, up 0.6 percent to $177,500 compared to the same month last year. When looking at the single-family home median price, the increase from $110,100 in February to $134,200 last month is a 21.9 percent improvement.
“In the city of Chicago, both average price and median price have increased for single family detached over the same period in 2010,” said Mabel Guzman, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. “Buyers are finding significant value and gravitating toward the single family detached properties offering better financing options.”
Much of the state saw an improvement last month. Total home sales throughout Illinois, which include single-family homes and condominiums, were up 1.3 percent from the prior month.
While the median price for February 2011 was down 4.6 percent from February 2010 — from $135,000 to $128,800 — the single-family median price was up 1.6 percent — from $127,000 to $129,000.
“We are seeing some improvements in the single family market in particular in terms of median prices trending higher and back to more sustainable pre-boom levels,” said Sheryl Grider Whitehurst, ABR, CRB, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. “More encouraging jobs signals and warmer weather should bring qualified buyers out from hibernation to grab hold of the low interest rates and high affordability factors in place for the spring market.”
The news wasn’t as positive in the suburbs. Total home sales were down 2 percent from January 2011 and 8.8 percent compared to February 2010 in the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), which includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake McHenry and Will.
The Chicago PMSA median home price also fell; 7.6 percent from $165,000 in February 2010 to $152,500 last month.
But don’t stress:
“Sales are forecast to decline year-over-year for the next three months but this is not an extremely negative signal for Illinois and the Chicago PMSA housing markets taking into consideration that the early 2010 housing market was inflated by the homebuyer tax credit by 16.5 percent,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “This impact is reflected in the fact that we are expecting to see significant month-to-month sales increases for the next three months for both Illinois and the Chicago PMSA.
“The housing price forecasts for both Illinois and the Chicago PMSA show month-to-month increases in March, April and May, however, the forecasted prices are still lower than last year during the same period.”
But more than half of all Illinois counties reported a year-over-year median price increase or no change for February.
“The economy continues to provide some positive signs,” said Hewings. “National job gains in the last 12 months have amounted to 1.3 million, or an average of 106,000 jobs per month. Illinois added 64,200 jobs in the last year or an average of 5,350 jobs per month.
“Most analysts agree that a strong labor market will be the key to a housing market recovery.”

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