Illinois home sales decreased 6.2 percent over previous-year levels in February while median prices increased 6.9 percent, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS (IAR). Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in February 2014 totaled 7,868 homes sold, down from 8,388 in February 2013. The number of houses on the market in February was down 19.2 percent compared to a year earlier, dropping from 70,053 homes for sale in February 2013 to 56,620 this year.
The statewide median price in February was $132,500, up 6.9 percent from February 2013 when the median price was $124,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
"The start of the year has been bedeviled by bad weather,” said Phil Chiles, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, president of IAR and broker-associate with The Real Estate Group in Springfield, Ill. "Increasing prices should prove attractive to homeowners who may have hesitated to sell in the past because they felt their homes were undervalued."
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.32 percent in February 2014, down from 4.46 percent in January, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. In February 2013, it averaged 3.49 percent.
In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in February 2014 totaled 5,574 homes sold, down 8.2 percent from February 2013 sales of 6,072 homes.
The median price in February 2014 was $156,000 in the Chicago PMSA, up 11.4 percent from $140,000 in February 2013. The time it took to sell a home continued to drop year-over-year in February with listings averaging 73 days until sale, a 15.1 percent decrease compared to 86 days in February 2013.
“The combination of increasing median prices and mixed signals from sales continued in February,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois. “Clearly, the dismal, persistent winter weather dampened enthusiasm for the housing market in early 2014; however, the forecast for month-to month-sales indicates positive trends for the next three months.”
Forty of 102 counties in Illinois showed annual home sales increases in February 2014. Forty-seven counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Madison, up 23.9 percent to $103,450; Cook, up 15.5 percent to $152,500; Piatt, up 13 percent to $148,000; DuPage, up 9.5 percent to $194,900; and Tazewell, up 4.3 percent to $114,750.
The city of Chicago saw a 3.5 percent year-over-year home sales decline in February 2014 with 1,361 sales, down from 1,411 in February 2013. The median price rose to $175,000 versus $156,050 in February 2013, an annual increase of 12.1 percent.
“February's weather was not anymore welcoming to buyers than January in Chicago. People do not want to go shopping for homes in unseasonably cold weather,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS and managing partner of Urban Real Estate. "Buyers are, however, ready to move and as homes come on the market, they are aggressively making their best offers. Median pricing is up, signaling a strong market on the rise. As sellers get their homes show-ready for a spring market, we believe these homes, too, will move quickly, if priced right.”