Chicagoland Home Sales Increase in September

williamthomashomesdolecrossingThe Illinois Association of Realtors reported Friday that during the month of September, 6,862 homes were sold to the 6,477 homes sold in September 2008. This represents the third consecutive month that residential Chicagoland real estate recorded monthly increases.  Sales of existing homes and condominiums in the Chicago area rose 5.9 percent.
Local counties recording year-over-year sales gains included Cook, up 9.2 percent; DuPage, up 6.6 percent; Lake, up 1.2 percent; and Will, increasing 4.6 percent.  Area home prices continue to depreciate, however, with the median sales price for the area down 10.8 percent in September, to $199,000.  Within the city of Chicago homes sales rose 5.8 percent, to 1,918 sales, compared to 1,813 homes sold in September 2008. The median price in the city last month was $225,000 down 16.2 percent, compared to $268,600 in September 2008.
First-time buyers are largely thought to be continuing to drive the housing market’s rebound, a situation that may change if the federal first-time homebuyer’s tax credit is allowed to expire Nov. 30, as it is currently scheduled to do. The industry has waged a campaign for two months to pressure the Obama Administration to extend the credit and make it available to all buyers.
A federal report found that more than $600 million of tax credit claims already filed were questionable making an argument to stop the program, some worry. The Internal Revenue Service has already discovered 167 fraudulent schemes tied to the credit and has begun 115 criminal investigations.
On a statewide level, home sales increased 3.3 percent, to 10,350 homes sold with the median price down 9.3 percent, to $160,000 in September.
“There are signs that the housing market may be signaling a change in direction, although the prospect of continued large numbers of foreclosed properties will continue to exert downward pressure on prices in a market in which supply still significantly exceeds demand,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at University of Illinois. “The news on the sales front is encouraging and even the price declines seem to be moderating.”
On Thursday, market data provider First American CoreLogic said that on a national level and excluding sales of distressed properties, home prices declined 6.2 percent in August, compared to declines of 6.8 percent in July and 8.3 percent in June. Home prices of distressed properties declined at more alarming rates.
Analysts at the company predict that home prices will continue to decline this year and into early next year, bottoming in March 2010.