Lower housing inventory and strong buyer demand drove median home prices higher even as statewide home sales decreased in February, according to Illinois REALTORS®.
Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in February 2018 totaled 8,151 homes sold, down 5.1 percent from 8,585 in February 2017.
The statewide median price in February was $185,000, up 8.8 percent from February 2017, when the median price was $170,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
“A chronic shortage in the number of available homes on the market is setting this spring market up to be one where buyers are going to have to move quickly and decisively,” said Matt Difanis, ABR, CIPS, GRI, president of Illinois REALTORS® and broker-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign. “We saw an increase in the number of properties which came onto the market in February, but we’re still a long way from having enough inventory to satisfy consumer demand.”
The time it took to sell a home in February averaged 71 days, down from 74 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 47,108 homes for sale, a 12.0 percent decline from February 2017 when there were 53,522 homes on the market.
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.33 percent in February 2018, an increase from 4.03 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In February 2017, it averaged 4.17 percent.
In the nine-county Chicago Metro Area (formerly identified as the Chicago PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in February 2018 totaled 5,722 homes sold, down 4.2 percent from February 2017 sales of 5,971 homes. The median price in February 2018 was $227,500 in the Chicago Mero Area, an increase of 8.3 percent from $210,000 in February 2017.
“With the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index decreasing, consumers seem to be apprehensive about future increases in interest rates and some uncertainties about the impact of the tax reform legislation,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “In combination with shrinking inventory and concerns about affordability at the lower end of the price scale, year-over-year sales numbers are forecast to be lower than in 2017.”
According to the data, twenty-three (23) Illinois counties reported sales gains for February 2018 over previous-year numbers, including Sangamon County, up 6.2 percent with 137 units sold; and Kane County, up 2.6 percent with 396 units sold. Fifty-two (52) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Rock Island County, up 57.4 percent to $106,000; McHenry County, up 13.9 percent to $205,000; and Cook County, up 10.6 percent to $232,250.
The city of Chicago saw year-over-year home sales decline in February 2018 with 1,490 sales, compared to 1,529 in February 2017. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in February 2018 was $272,000, up 10.6 percent compared to February 2017 when it was $246,000.
“Buyers must be proactive in this market,” said Rebecca Thomson, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and vice president of agent development at @properties. “With inventory tightening, buyers may need to account for a longer search. In that same vein, prospective sellers may delay listing their homes until after they’ve identified where they plan to go. Fewer homes on the market make this a catch-22. When the right opportunity arises, buyers will need to act quickly.”
Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 27 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of March 7, 2018 for the period Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, 2018. The Chicago Metro Area, 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 47,000 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, the University of Illinois REAL forecast and more at www.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.