A lot.

In the October home sales report released by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® today, there are many factors at work here−some working for, others working against a housing market recovery.

  • Foreclosures continue to exert downward pressure on prices and this will continue until the market clears of these troubled properties.
  • The tax credit effect lingers in the numbers. Last year at this time buyers were rushing to close to make the first-time buyer tax credit deadline of November 30, 2009 – before it was extended to April 30, 2010 and expanded to include long-time homeowners, too.
  • The economy is growing but much too slowly. It must make more significant and tangible strides before we’ll see consumers moving.
  • Jobs. More than ever the housing market is linked to jobs and the economy. We won’t see much improvement in consumer confidence or the housing market until things get better as a whole for the state and nation.
  • Credit remains tight. Lenders must make changes to the process so qualified buyers can close on a home sale.

And did I mention we are in the middle of the winter holiday season when weather and holiday shopping, travel and celebrations typically trump house shopping?

It’s really becoming wait-and-see mode. We need the economy to improve before we see realistic improvements in the housing market.

On the plus side…

There are a lot of good reasons to list now because motivated buyers are out there looking at the inventory. Yours could be the one they are waiting for.

  • Mortgage interest rates are still well below 5 percent offering attractive financing for buyers.
  • Affordability remains high with lower home prices and the low interest rates. If you are looking to buy, now could be your best opportunity before rates go higher.
  • There seems to be a tendency to wait for the spring market to list your home for sale. A good strategy could be to list during the holidays and stand out before it gets crowded with everyone else who is waiting for spring.