Chicago Real Estate Improves at the End of 2010

Home sales in the metropolitan Chicago real estate market finished last year on a positive note.
According to a report by RE/MAX Northern Illinois, home sales in the Chicago area saw the best month in December since June when compared to the prior year’s sales activity.
In the seven-county Chicago area, 5,175 homes were sold in December 2010. While this is 11.3 percent less than it was in December 2009, that is a big improvement over the year-to-date numbers of the last five months:
Sold Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of New House.*November 2010 sales fell 34 percent compared to November 2009
*October sales fell 36.1 percent
*September sales fell 22.8 percent
*August sales fell 19.2 percent
*July sales fell 24.6 percent
“I looked at sales data back through 2005, and this is the first time that December home sales in the metro area were stronger in terms of transactions closed than in October of the same year,” said Jim Merrion, regional director of the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network. “We believe that is a positive sign, suggesting the recovery of the economy is slowly improving consumer confidence, which is now translating into an increased willingness to buy new homes.”
Home prices in December didn’t fare as well, however.
The median price for all Chicago area homes sold last month was $168,000, which is 7.7 percent less than December 2009, and more importantly, 4 percent lower than November 2010.
According to Merrion, a big reason for the drop in median prices has to do with the onslaught of foreclosures and short sales taking over the market.
The sale of distressed properties accounted for 42.6 percent of all December home sales. That’s an increase of 40 percent from December 2009 and 38.8 percent from November 2010.
Back to the good news. All seven counties saw increases in home sales from November to December:
*Cook County: Led the way with a 17.5 percent increase, which included a rise of 12.9 percent in suburban Cook County and a 22.9 percent jump in the city of Chicago. Compared to December 2009, Cook County posted 15.3 percent less sales, which included an 11.3 percent drop in suburban Cook County and a 20 percent decrease in Chicago.
*DuPage: Up 14.4 percent from November 2010 to December 2010, and up 6.1 percent compared to December 2009.
*Kane: Up 11.3 percent from November 2010; up 10 percent from December 2009.
*Kendall: Up 16.8 percent from November 2010; up 3.4 percent from December 2009.
*Lake: Up 4.8 percent from November 2010; down 3.4 percent from December 2009.
*McHenry: Up 8.7 percent from November 2010; down 17.4 from December 2009.
*Will: Up 6.6 from November 2010; down 15.2 percent from December 2009.
One more positive note: The average time that a home sold in December was on the market was 163 days. While that is two more days than in December 2009, it’s also an improvement from the 169 days homes sold in November 2010 posted.